Wants direct talks. Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Labor slams Lieberman over comments against Turkish mediation

In response to FM's call for direct talks with Syria 'without mediators, definitely not Turkish ones,' Labor members say he is harming Israel's interests. Barak: Turkey one of most important countries in Middle East

Senior Labor faction members on Monday leveled harsh criticism at Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman over his recent remarks against Turkey's involvement in the indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria, which are currently stalled.


"Don't worry about him; he's on his way out," Minister Avishay Braverman told a Labor faction meeting, while Knesset Member Daniel Ben Simon said Lieberman was harming Israel's interests adding that his party, Yisrael Beiteunu, was redolent of "other regimes" and promotes legislation that is "detrimental to Israel".


On Sunday Lieberman said, "As long as I am foreign minister, there will be no Turkish mediation in the talks with Syria. But if Damascus wishes to talk, it will only be in a direct meeting, not in secret diplomacy, without mediation and without mediators, definitely not Turkish ones."


Referring to Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the FM said, "There are all kinds of marginal elements in the government who are implying that there is still room for Turkish mediation, but they should forget about it. We must not provide illusions and say things which have no basis in reality."


Labor Minister Isaac Herzog urged the party to inquire as to whether Lieberman's position reflects that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told his fellow party members, "I met with Israel's ambassador to Turkey (Gabby Levy) today, and he said he disagrees with Lieberman. The problem with Lieberman is that criticism only makes him stronger, and therefore we may be better off not responding at all. "


Labor chairman Ehud Barak, who is expected to visit Ankara next month, said, "Turkey is one of the most important countries in the Middle East."


פרסום ראשון: 12.28.09, 17:22
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