Lieberman at the UNGA
Photo: AFP

Lieberman lauds Obama address

Foreign minister says it was a 'speech by an ally'; criticizes Barak for announcing that he had convinced Nigeria to abstain in vote; PA says willing to resume talks

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lauded US President Barack Obama's pro-Israel UN speech on Wednesday, saying "I can welcome and sign off on this speech with both my hands. It was a speech by an ally."


The foreign minister added that Israel has "shown much flexibility and we respect the American requests."


More on the showdown at the UN:


Lieberman also reprimanded his deputy Danny Ayalon for supporting comments attributed to the foreign minister by which "the coalition will fall apart if Netanyahu does not punish the Palestinians."



Lieberman (middle row, on left) at the UNGA (Photo: AFP)


"What I did say," Lieberman clarified, "is that if the Palestinians pass a unilateral decision, there would be dire consequences. Between that and quitting the coalition there is nothing in common."


Lieberman claimed that he "never threatens. I did not have any knowledge of the things that had been said, I reprimanded Ayalon. We have no reason or ideology to quit the coalition. Having said that, I do not cling to the (ministerial) chair. Everyone knows what our red lines are and what cannot be compromised. I said I would not agree to any construction freeze, not even for one more day."


Lieberman said he was certain that eventually a vote would not be held at the Security Council. "The Palestinians understand that it is their interest too. The Europeans understand it, the Americans understand it and I hope that the Palestinian threat will not materialize," he concluded.


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In other reactions, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said after Obama's UN address that the Palestinians are prepared to resume the peace talks with Israel pending the fulfillment of a few conditions.


"We are willing to restart negotiations the moment that Israel stops settlement construction and agrees to discuss the 1967 lines," he said.


Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren expressed his satisfaction over Obama's UN speech, and said that it is not yet clear whether the Palestinians have majority support for their statehood bid at the UN Security Council.


Oren told Ynet that "Congress has made it clear that there will be consequences to any Palestinian attempt to declare independence through the UN, and I think that the Palestinians are completely aware of this stance."


Government Secretary Zvi Hauser deemed the Palestinian bid futile, saying that it "is now turning out that the measure is blocked."


Hauser told Ynet that "the world has realized that negotiations are the only key to a solution."


Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni responded to Obama's speech, telling Ynet that "He supported Israel, but Netanyahu must take action. Otherwise next month we will be worse off than we are this month. A US veto would be almost embarrassing."


Livni called on the prime minister to renew the peace talks with the Palestinians, "even though the price that Israel is paying for restarting the negotiations is higher than ever."


Yitzhak Benhorin and Elior Levy contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 09.21.11, 20:20
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