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Statement by President Joe Biden on Breakthrough Diplomacy in the Middle East

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Oct 12, 2022 - 03:34 AM

Today, I am pleased to announce a historic breakthrough in the Middle East.  After months of mediation by the United States, the Governments of Israel and Lebanon have agreed to formally end their maritime boundary dispute and establish a permanent maritime boundary between them.  I have just spoken with the Prime Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid, and the President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, who confirmed the readiness of both governments to move forward with this agreement.  I want to also thank President Emmanuel Macron of France and his government for their support in these negotiations.

Energy—particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean—should serve as the tool for cooperation, stability, security, and prosperity, not for conflict.  The agreement announced by both governments today will provide for the development of energy fields for the benefit of both countries, setting the stage for a more stable and prosperous region, and harnessing vital new energy resources for the world.  It is now critical that all parties uphold their commitments and work towards implementation.

This agreement also protects Israel’s security and economic interests critical to promoting its regional integration.  It provides Lebanon the space to begin its own exploitation of energy resources.  And it promotes the interests of the United States and the American people in a more stable, prosperous, and integrated Middle East region, with reduced risks of new conflicts.

I want to thank our diplomats and everyone across the U.S. government, past and present, who have worked tirelessly on this bipartisan issue throughout the years.  Persistent U.S. diplomacy, paired with the openness of Israeli and Lebanese leaders to negotiate, consult, and ultimately choose what was in the best interests of their people, led to this breakthrough.

I congratulate everyone involved.

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