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Clinton and Lieberman
Photo: Sahar Azran
Clinton, Lieberman meet in DC
US secretary of state meets with foreign minister for first time in 18 months; meeting focuses on Iranian threat, talks with PA

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Tuesday, for the first time in 18 months.

 

Lieberman is currently on an official visit to Washington. The two met for 45 minutes and discussed the Iranian threat, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the escalating situation in Syria.

 

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While in Washington, Lieberman is also schedule to meet with members of the US Congress.

 

Lieberman reportedly thanked Clinton for the US' firm stand vis-à-vis Iran, saying that the steps taken by the US over the past few weeks conveyed an important message to the region. 

 

The Obama Administration considers Lieberman to be "disruptive" to the peace process and Clinton rarely meets with him. The past few years have seen Defense Minister Ehud Barak serve as a frequent go-between for Jerusalem and Washington.

 

Lieberman's visit comes a day after Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas signed a deal with the Islamist movement Hamas to end a longstanding rift between the two main Palestinian groups.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the deal brokered by Qatar, warning that Abbas must choose between making peace with Hamas and with Israel.

 

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was more nuanced, saying Monday that reconciliation was an internal Palestinian matter but that a Palestinian government must clearly commit to non-violence and recognize Israel.

 

Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since September 2010 despite periodic US attempts to revive them.

 

Moran Azulay and AFP contributed to this report

 

 

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