Lebanese president Aoun says Beirut will study the final text and take ‘the suitable decision’; Biden administration continues pressure campaign on Lebanon to waive new demands and comments to draft agreement

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Sunday that he will be sent a final draft of a proposal to demarcate Lebanon’s maritime border with long-time foe Israel within hours.

U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein has drawn up the final text.

ישיבת ממשלה
Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Lebanese President Michel Aoun (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi, AFP, DALATI AND NOHRA)


In a statement, the Lebanese presidency said Beirut will study the final text and take “the suitable decision”.

Earlier Sunday, the Biden administration continued to turn the screws on Beirut to waive the new demands and comments to the draft agreement on the maritime border and accept it as it is.

Washington realizes that the chances Prime Minister Yair Lapid would meet the new demands ahead of the Nov. 1 general election were slim, and tried to disabuse Lebanon of the idea.

עמוס הוכשטיין
U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein (Photo: AFP / DALATI AND NOHRA)


Hochstein, along with national security official Brett McGurk, conducted a series of phone calls with senior Lebanese officials over the weekend and urged them to accept the original draft.

Assuming these efforts bear fruit, officials in Jerusalem believe sealing the agreement before the elections would still be possible.
However, sources in Lapid’s office say the required bureaucratic process probably cannot be completed before the elections.

According to an outline laid out by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the agreement would have to go up for approval in a government forum, and then be presented to the Knesset for comments for two weeks. She also presented an alternative option to bring the agreement to an immediate Knesset vote.

ספינה של חברת אנרג'יאן ב מאגר גז כריש
Karish gas rig (Photo: AFP/Energean)


Meanwhile, energy company Energean, which holds the license to Israel’s Karish offshore gas field, said Sunday that it began testing the flow of gas from the shore into the gas rig through underwater pipelines.

The company has begun testing following the Energy Ministry’s approval to connect the gas platform to Israel’s local natural gas systems.

Energean said this was crucial to ensuring the gas platform can become fully operational.

As reported by Ynetnews