FM Liberman met with many European foreign ministers and discussed regional and bilateral issues.
(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman attended the Informal OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Ministerial Meeting that took place over the weekend in Kazakhstan.
At the meeting, in which 50 foreign ministers from Europe and other countries participated, FM Liberman met with the foreign ministers of Germany, Canada, Greece, Poland, Austria, Slovenia, and many others.
At his meeting with Germany’s FM Guido Westerwelle, Liberman expressed satisfaction that Germany has outlawed the IHH. He said that this is further proof that the IHH is a terrorist organization and hopes that more European states as well as the US will outlaw the organization and that it will be added to the EU’s list of terrorist organizations.
FM Liberman explained Israel’s new Gaza policy to his counterparts and told them that Israel expects to see European actions and not only declarations. He expressed his hope that, when the European foreign ministers meet on 26 July, they will decide to promote projects in the Gaza Strip such as desalination and electricity production, projects vital to the entire region that will be given a boost by Israel’s new policy.
Concerning the Europeans’ demand that Israel open the passages to the Gaza Strip, Liberman recalled Israel’s past experience with Europe in this matter: In 2005, the agreement for the operation of Rafah Crossing was signed by the Europeans. However, following threats by Hamas operatives, the European force ignored the provisions of the agreement and abandoned the crossings in a single day, leaving Israel to face problems such as weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, Liberman told the ministers that Israel is willing to consider turning the crossings over to the Europeans only on condition that the responsibility for operating them would be assumed by a serious force – on the order of the French Foreign Legion, but nothing less – that would be able to stand up to Hamas’s threats and to provide a suitable response.
FM Liberman told the foreign ministers that the fact that the ships from Libya and Ireland , which sailed after the Turkish flotilla, arrived without any violence and the goods that they carried were transferred to Gaza without incident shows that the Turkish flotilla was a premeditated provocation.
FM Liberman discussed with the foreign ministers of Canada and Luxemburg the promotion and strengthening of economic cooperation and the possibility of convening joint economic seminars.
The Austrian foreign minister gave FM Liberman an invitation to visit Austria to convey to President Shimon Peres and PM Netanyahu.