Lieberman to European ministers: Solve your problems first

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is under fire for telling his Spanish and French counterparts to solve their own problems before telling Israel what to do.

Lieberman reportedly made his remarks Sunday during a dinner meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

"I don’t expect you to solve the problems of the world, but I certainly expect that before you come here to teach us how to solve conflicts, you will deal with the problems in Europe and solve those conflicts," Lieberman reportedly said Sunday. "Solve your own problems in Europe before you come to us with complaints. Maybe then I will be open to accepting your suggestions."

Lieberman also reportedly said that the international community is trying to make up for its own failures in such areas of the world as Afghanistan, North Korea and Iraq though its Middle East involvement. 

"In 1938 Europe placated Hitler, sacrificing Czechoslovakia instead of supporting it, and gained nothing from it," Lieberman reportedly said. "We will not be the Czechoslovakia of 2010; we will stand up for Israel’s vital interests."

The ministers told Lieberman in a phone call Monday that his statements "violated every rule of diplomatic etiquette," Haaretz reported Monday.

Moratinos and Kouchner also met Sunday with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

France and Spain each recently upgraded the status of the Palestinian delegations in their capitals to mission status.
 

NEXT STORY