WASHINGTON – Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with 15 UN ambassadors from across the world in New York on Thursday and expressed concern that Hezbollah will use a provocation against Israel as a means of distraction from the violence in Syria. The foreign minister also slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Lieberman met, among others, ambassadors from Russia, Britain, Germany, India, South Africa and Portugal – all members of the UN's Security Council. He said that Israel is ready for any act of provocation on Hezbollah's part.
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The issues of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and prospects of a Palestinian unity government were also discussed in the meeting. Lieberman stressed that Israel will not accept a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, as long as the group continues to deny Israel's right to exist, uses terror and fails to recognize past agreements.
Lieberman with foreign ambassadors (Photo: Shahar Azran)
He also claimed that the Palestinian agreement signed in Qatar earlier this week was not conducive to negotiations with Israel and was based on the personal interests of Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal.
During the meeting, the British ambassador remarked that the UK supports Israel on the Hamas issue but stressed that Palestinian reconciliation will enable Israel to achieve peace with all Palestinians.
The German envoy, on his part, criticized Israel for not handing over funds to bolster Abbas to which Lieberman replied that "Abbas is an obstacle to peace." He noted that the Palestinian leader provided terrorists released as part of the Shalit deal with funds and housing solutions.
The foreign minister also addressed the Iranian issue, stating that the Iranian regime posed the greatest threat to world peace.
Lieberman said that Israel hopes the latest sanctions will propel Tehran to withdraw its nuclear program but warned that should it persist Israel will keep "all options on the table." Asked by the Russian ambassador what the effects of an Israeli strike in Iran would have on the world, Lieberman said that Israel is not discussing the issue in public.
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