WASHINGTON – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Monday in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon a short time after the latter expressed his disappointment that the West Bank settlement construction moratorium was not being extended beyond its 10-month period.
The two discussed the matter, and Lieberman contended that the freeze "is just an excuse" for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to quit budding peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
"For nine months the Palestinians claimed that the freeze is a ploy, and now they have turned it into a lynchpin," said the foreign minister to the UN chief.
After Abbas announced he is awaiting the upcoming meeting of the Arab League at the beginning of October, Lieberman asserted, "If the Arab League is seeking challenges to deal with, there are many in the Arab world. Hundreds of people are killed each week in terrorist attacks, and poverty and despair cry out to the heavens.
"Instead of solving these problems, the leaders of the Arab League prefer to run away from them, and blame Israel for all their internal problems. Instead of dialogue, they prefer to incite the masses against the Jews," added Lieberman.
Lieberman said that Israel is interested in a fair peace agreement. "We are willing to collaborate with the international community and be cooperative, but without compromising on security and Israel's vital interests," he said.
Throughout the day, Lieberman met with the foreign ministers from Britain, Greece, Bulgaria, Austria, Nauru, Cyprus, and Lithuania.
Prior to meeting with Lieberman, Ban Ki-Moon expressed his displeasure with the resumption of construction in the West Bank.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report
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