Photo: Gil Yohanan
Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Lieberman: Yisrael Beiteinu will keep foreign portfolio

Former foreign minister tells Channel 2's 'Meet the Press' he's positive he will be reinstated; advises Yesh Atid's chair Lapid to 'stick to election platform – follow the money'

"Yisrael Beiteinu will keep the foreign affairs portfolio," former Foreign Minister and party chairman Avigdor Lieberman stated Saturday.


Speaking with Channel 2's "Meet the Press," Lieberman, who resigned his post after a criminal indictment was filed against him, asserted that "The foreign affairs portfolio will remain with Netanyahu pending the case's conclusion."


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Lieberman said in the past that he was sure the trial will find him innocent that he has every intention of resuming his post as foreign minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's third government.


Netanyahu, on his part, said he would keep the portfolio in trust, pending the outcome of the trial.


On the show, Lieberman also addressed rumors suggesting Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid is eyeing the Foreign Ministry.


In trust. Lieberman and Netanyahu (Photo: AP)


Yesh Atid won 19 Knesset seats in the elections, making it the second-larges party in the House. As such, if it joins the coalition – which Lapid said he intends to do – the party has the right to demand one of the government's top-three portfolios: The finance, defense or foreign ministries.


According to Lieberman, Lapid should pursue heading the Treasury, since his platform was mainly social: "He spent much of the election campaign saying 'follow the money' – so he should do just that. The 'money' is at the Finance Ministry, not the Foreign Ministry.


"I would be very supportive of Lapid if he did that, if he focused on the problems he said he wanted to solve, like the problems of the middle class and housing, and the universal draft," he said.


'No chance for peace deal with PA'

Commenting in US President Barack Obama's expected visit and the chances of it reigniting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Lieberman said that "Israel has no chance of signing a permanent peace accord with the Palestinians and should instead seek a long-term interim deal."


The former foreign minister further linked the more than two-year-old impasse to pan-Arab political upheaval that has boosted Islamists hostile to Israel.  


"Anyone who thinks that in the centre of this socio-diplomatic ocean, this tsunami which is jarring the Arab world, it is possible to arrive at the magic solution of a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians does not understand," he said.


"This is impossible. It is not possible to solve the conflict here. The conflict can be managed and it is important to manage the conflict… to negotiate on a long-term interim agreement."


Lieberman said the ball was "in Abu Mazen's court" to revive diplomacy.


Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev noted that Lieberman, in the Channel Two interview, had said he was expressing his own opinion.


Asked how Netanyahu saw peace prospects for an accord with the Palestinians, Regev referred to a speech on Tuesday in which the conservative prime minister said that Israel, while addressing threats by its enemies, "Must also pursue secure, stable and realistic peace with our neighbors."


Reuters contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 02.09.13, 22:29
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