Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Kerry holds all-night talks with Afghan presidential rivals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Middle east

Lieberman in Europe to urge patience on peace

©

Video by Sonia DRIDI , Louis MASSIE

Latest update : 2009-05-04

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, known for his uncompromising stand toward Palestinians, begins his first official trip abroad with a visit to Europe aimed at reassuring Europeans of Israel's commitment to the peace process.

AFP - Israel's ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman left on Sunday on his first official trip abroad, aiming to reassure the Europeans amid rising tensions over the stalled peace process.
   
The minister, who has triggered controversy over his virulently anti-Arab stance, will tell the Europeans to be patient while Israel's new right-leaning cabinet draws up its official policy on peacemaking, officials said.
   
"He will ask that the Europeans wait a bit until the government presents its new policy," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP before Lieberman took off for Rome.
   
But the opposition Kadima party has accused the government of time-wasting.
   
Lieberman's five-day tour will take him to Paris, Prague -- which currently holds the rotating EU presidency -- and Berlin.
   
Immediately after taking office, Lieberman sparked criticism by saying the new cabinet was not bound by the previous government's decision at a US conference in November 2007 to revive negotiations with the Palestinians.
   
Tensions between Israel and the European Union have risen over the past few months, with the bloc's executive arm warning that ties would not be upgraded until the new cabinet recognised the principle of the two-state solution.
   
Hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to publicly endorse the idea of a Palestinian state, a bedrock principle of international plans to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
   
Netanyahu, whose government was sworn in on March 31, insists that the economy in the occupied West Bank be improved before discussion on other questions.
   
He is due to present his government's policy in a meeting with US President Barack Obama, expected to take place on May 18 in Washington.
   
Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, who will meet Obama 10 days after Netanyahu does, said on Sunday he will tell the US president that resuming peace talks with Israel hinges on its approval of a two-state solution.
   
"Our conditions and demands are based on the two-state solution and Israel's halt of settlement building as well as house demolitions. These are our demands and the demands of the Americans themselves to resume the talks," Abbas said after meeting Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman.
   
In Italy, Lieberman will have talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.
   
He will then meet his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner on Tuesday but a meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy has not been decided.
   
"I am not saying that it's a condition, but it would be favorable if Avigdor Lieberman in the very least adheres to the decisions taken by the international community," Claude Gueant, Sarkozy's chief of staff, told French radio.
   
In Prague, Lieberman is due to meet his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg, and could also hold talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, although the latter meeting was unconfirmed.
   
Last week, Israel warned the EU to limit its criticism of Netanyahu's cabinet or risk losing a role in the peace process, which was revived in late 2007 but has been on ice since Israel's war on Gaza in December-January.
   
The warning was issued in phone conversations between the deputy director of the Israeli foreign ministry's European desk, Rafi Barak, and the ambassadors of Britain, France and Germany.
   
"Israel asks the European Union to keep a low profile and conduct a quiet dialogue... But if these declarations continue, Europe will not be able to have involvement in the peace process and both sides will lose," Barak was quoted as telling the ambassadors.
   
Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) party, has been described as a "racist" by critics over his anti-Arab diatribes.
   
Meanwhile a Pentagon official said that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was departing Sunday for talks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia focused on "regional security" and Middle East peace efforts.
 

Date created : 2009-05-04

Comments

COMMENT(S)