The two foreign ministers discussed bilateral issues and events in the Middle East, including the situation in Syria.

 Meeting between FM Liberman and French FM Fabius


Photo: Gaby Farkas

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman met a short while ago with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

At the meeting the two discussed bilateral issues and events in the Middle East. FM Liberman told Minister Fabius that, although radical elements in many Middle East states have gained strength, the "Arab Spring" also brought a new force to those countries – young, educated and liberal. These forces understand that their problem is not Zionist Israel or the Jews, but poverty, oppression and the huge gap between most of the population and a small group that gets rich by the unfair exploitation of natural resources and the unfair division of the income from these resources. The greatest danger to these new forces is radicalism and the militant groups identified with the jihad, Iran, and El Qaida.

France could have an important, even historic role in shaping the future of the Middle East, Liberman said to Fabius. France could be a bridge between those young, liberal forces and the State of Israel. Israel would be happy to accept the services of France in organizing meetings and establishing a dialogue with those new forces. This connection could facilitate the creation of understanding based on humane, universal values.

The two foreign ministers also discussed Syria. FM Liberman said that Israel is refraining from any sort of intervention there, beyond Israel’s expressed willingness to extend humanitarian aid to the injured. However, any attempt to transfer chemical weapons from Syria to the Hizbullah will be considered crossing a red line and Israel will not hold back and will respond decisively if this happens.

FM Liberman raised the subject of the Algerian author Boualem Sansal, who was scheduled to receive the Arab Novel Prize. The sponsors, ambassadors in Paris from Arab League countries, decided to cancel the ceremony and withdraw the prize money, following Sansal’s participation in the International Writers Festival in Jerusalem in May. Liberman gave Minister Fabius a letter in which he requested that the Government of France help Sansal, who lives in Paris, and support him publicly in his stand concerning discussion and dialogue between Israel and the Arab states. Liberman said that this is the moral duty of the French government.