Photo: AP
Eye contact. Aboul Gheit
Photo: AP
Agressive. Lieberman
Photo: Eli Mandelbaum
Egyptian FM says won't shake Lieberman's hand
In response to new Israeli foreign minister's aggressive speech, Aboul Gheit says 'those who hurt Egypt's pride must suffer the consequences of their statements'

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he would refuse to shake Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman's hand should they meet in the future because "he insulted Egypt."


Speaking to Egyptian television Thursday, Aboul Gheit said "an Egyptian foreign minister must protect Egypt's honor, and therefore those who hurt this pride must suffer the consequences of their statements."


Following Lieberman's aggressive speech on Wednesday, the Arab world slammed the new Israeli government's policy, but stopped short of casting direct criticism at the foreign minister.


In his speech Lieberman said, "Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong. It's the other way around; it will lead to more wars."


However, the leader of the rightist Yisrael Beiteinu party adopted a more moderate tone when speaking of Egypt.


"Egypt is an important element in the Arab world and in the world in general," Lieberman said. "I will certainly be happy to visit Egypt, but I'll also be happy to see Egypt's leaders visit here, including the Egyptian foreign minister. I respect others and I want them to respect us; I'm in favor of the principle of reciprocity."


Aboul Gheit said that as long as Lieberman maintains his current position, "If I run into him by chance I'll make do with making eye contact, but my hand will remain in my pocket."


A few months ago Lieberman said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could "go to hell."


During a special Knesset plenary session marking the seventh anniversary of the assassination of far-right minister Rehavam Ze'evi (Gandhi), Lieberman said that "Gandhi would have never approved of our self-effacement vis-à-vis the Egyptians. Time and time again our leaders go to Egypt to meet Mubarak, and he has never made a single official visit.


"Every self respecting leader would have conditioned such meetings on reciprocation. If he wants to talks to us, he should come here, and if he doesn't want to come, he can go to hell," he added. 


פרסום ראשון: 04.02.09, 23:24
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