FM Liberman met with his Austrian counterpart and discussed Austria’s upcoming presidency of the UN Security Council, the Goldstone Report, current Middle East affairs and other issues.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman met today with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in Vienna.
In approximately two weeks, Austria will begin its term as president of the UN Security Council, and ministers Liberman and Spindelegger discussed matters relevant to this issue. FM Liberman stated that adopting the findings of the Goldstone Report grants diplomatic immunity to terror. The Austrians confirmed that in their opinion, the report should be discussed on in the Human Rights Council and not in any other forum.
FM Liberman and FM Spindelegger discussed the Iranian issue, and FM Liberman raised the issue of involvement of Austrian companies in trade with Iran. FM Liberman stated that the willingness of the international community to continue with the diplomatic process must be limited in time. From experience, it is clear that the Iranians intend to talk and to gain time without any intent of reaching a real solution, and this scenario must not be allowed to materialize.
The ministers also discussed the events in Lebanon, and FM Liberman stated that it must be taken into account that this is the second such explosion of ammunition in UNIFIL controlled areas.
The two ministers also discussed bilateral issues, and FM Liberman invited FM Spindelegger to visit Israel.
Statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
Avigdor Liberman at his meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister, Michael Spindelegger
Question: What about building settlements in the West Bank?
FM Liberman: I think that there is a misunderstanding regarding the settlements, because as you know, we started developing the settlements only after 1967- after the Six Day War. And the question is what took place between 1948 and 1967. And I think that the situation between ’48 and ’67 was the same exactly, very similar. There was tension, there was friction and there was terror.
Mainly and more importantly, the Arabs controlled Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip for nineteen years. Nobody established any Palestinian State during those nineteen years. We believe that with the settlements, we have the right to provide a normal life for our citizens. We don’t want to change anything, but we must provide a normal life for all the citizens of Israel. And I think this is only an excuse for those who really try to avoid peace talks, who try to waste time, to buy time. Everybody is aware that they use this situation only as an excuse. But the real question is that the other side is ready for direct talks without any preconditions. We have always made it clear to everyone that we are ready at any moment for direct talks between us and the Palestinians. And this is maybe the most important point.