Lebanon has secured "American guarantees" that its maritime border deal with Israel cannot be easily scrapped should Benjamin Netanyahu return to the Israeli premiership, Beirut's chief negotiator said Wednesday, according to the AFP news agency.
"We obtained sufficient American guarantees that this deal cannot easily be cancelled," said the negotiator Elias Bou Saab, who is also deputy parliament speaker, according to the report.
If Netanyahu wants to withdraw from the deal, then "he will withdraw from an agreement with the US," Bou Saab told AFP, noting that Israel and Lebanon had signed separate deals with the United States.
He said Washington had warned that "the withdrawal of any party would have great consequences on both countries."
"When Netanyahu says that he wants to withdraw, this means that he will be facing the international community," Bou Saab added.
The Cabinet last week approved the US-brokered maritime agreement between Israel and Lebanon. Prime Minister Yair Lapid later signed the US-brokered agreement alongside the Israeli negotiating team.
Netanyahu, whose bloc is headed towards a victory after Tuesday’s Knesset elections, has blasted the maritime border agreement and said he would not be bound by it.
Last week, Netanyahu vowed that if elected, he would work to “neutralize” the maritime border deal with Lebanon.
“I will behave as I did with the Oslo Accords,” he said. The agreement “wasn’t canceled, it was neutralized.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price on Wednesday stopped short of confirming guarantees, but said the deal was "in the interests of Israel and Lebanon."
"Because it was in the interest of both countries it was in the profound interest of the United States. We seek to see a more stable, a more integrated region," he told reporters, according to AFP.
"Scarce resources, we know from history, have the potential to create tensions and potentially to escalate tensions into, in some cases, the brink of conflict," added Price.