Foreign Minister: ‘Even if Abu Mazen & Livni played checkers, that’s their prerogative’
Lieberman hints at new direction in peace talks.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stressed on Saturday that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s meetings with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in London last week were unofficial and not sanctioned by the Israeli government.
“I assume that she (Livni) was in London privately and met whoever she wanted to meet,” Lieberman told Channel 2. “I’m sure that this wasn’t a meeting for peace talks. Even if they played checkers, that’s their prerogative.”
Sources in Netanyahu’s office said the prime minister had clarified to Livni that “in this kind of meeting, she only represents herself and not the Israeli government.”
Netanyahu stressed that according to decisions made by his cabinet, “The Israeli government won’t hold peace talks with a Palestinian government supported by Hamas, a terrorist organization that openly declares its intentions to destroy the State of Israel.”
Livni’s office stated that the minister’s meeting with Abbas wasn’t in her itinerary and was decided upon spontaneously as a way to take advantage of the fact that the PA president was also in London for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Livni herself said that discussions couldn’t continue while Palestinians gave legitimacy to Hamas and included that she made that point clear in her meeting with Abbas.
Besides serving as Justice Minister, Livni is Israel’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians, which collapsed before even reaching the April 29 deadline set nine months before, at the beginning of discussions.
Livni’s meeting with Abbas was the first meeting between officials on both sides since the end of peace talks. The justice minister also met in London with Kerry, who brokered the latest round of negotiations.
Foreign Minister Lieberman also addressed the topic of peace talks in his Channel 2 interview, expressing little hope for a swift renewal.
“The cabinet has made decisions to freeze peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, and Livni also supported those decisions,” said Lieberman.
However, Lieberman did suggest that there may soon be progress in a new direction for Israel saying, “The Foreign Ministry and the foreign minister have presented an alternative plan to the prime minister, whose details shouldn’t be revealed just now.”
“The fact that we don’t run things by Abu Mazen doesn’t mean that we aren’t making other plans,” Lieberman added, using Abbas’s nickname.
The foreign minister also gave his reaction to reports that the American special envoy Martin Indyk blamed Israel for the break down in peace talks.
“Even the best of friends make mistakes,” said Lieberman. “And the Americans are mistaken about the issue of settlements just like they were mistaken about Palestinian elections.”
“Sharon was opposed and said that Hamas would take control of the government and (then US secretary of state Condaleezza) Rice managed to force her wishes on Israel.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4520713,00.html