Michel Aoun
Michel AounReuters

Lebanese President Michel Aoun confirmed on Thursday that the country has approved the US-mediated maritime border deal with Israel, The Associated Press reported.

The agreement to demarcate the maritime border comes after months of talks mediated by senior US official Amos Hochstein.

“This indirect agreement responds to Lebanese demands and maintains all our rights,” Aoun said in a televised speech on Thursday, according to AP.

Aoun made the announcement hours after meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker Nabih Berri, who had received copies of Hochstein’s latest iteration of the agreement earlier this week.

In his remarks, Aoun also thanked Hezbollah and said, "A double thank you to you, Lebanese men and women, because through your steadfastness, your stability, your resistance proved to be a factor of strength for Lebanon - you contributed to the strengthening of the Lebanese position in the negotiations and the conflict, and you accomplished this achievement for you and for future generations."

Israel’s security cabinet voted on Wednesday afternoon to back the maritime boundary deal with Lebanon, sending the tentative agreement to the full cabinet for ratification.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked voted against the agreement, while Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett backed the agreement, even as he downplayed its significance.”

Despite pressure from the opposition to bring the deal to a vote in the full Knesset, the government will only allow the Knesset to review the agreement, but without holding a vote on the matter.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that both countries agreed to “formally” end their maritime border dispute, and that their leaders both told him they were ready to take next steps.

“I spoke with Prime Minister Yaid Lapid and President Michel Aoun today to congratulate them on a breakthrough agreement to establish a maritime boundary for the first time between Israel and Lebanon,” tweeted Biden.

“My Administration was proud to facilitate this deal, an anchor for regional stability and prosperity,” he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later welcomed the agreement in a tweet of his own.

“I welcome the historic breakthrough by Lebanon and Israel on establishing a permanent maritime boundary mediated by the US,” he wrote.

“This breakthrough represents a new source of prosperity, stability, and regional coordination that will deliver vital energy resources for the world,” added Blinken.