Israeli FM takes Putin to task over Mideast

7th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Wednesday that his support for the Palestinian bid for UN membership did not help peace, Lieberman's office said.

And the outspoken Israeli, at a meeting with Putin in Moscow, ticked off his host over the reported sale of supersonic cruise missiles to Syria despite the violence shaking the Arab country, the statement from Lieberman's office added.

"Minister Lieberman said that Israel and Russia have different positions on a range of issues concerning relations between Israel and the Palestinians and events in the Middle East," the Hebrew-language statement said.

"Minister Lieberman said that the Russian attitude supporting unilateral steps by the Palestinians does not contribute to reaching an agreement and to improving the situation between Israel and the Palestinians.

"Minister Lieberman also said that the supply of advanced weapons to Syria, especially under present conditions there, could lead to negative consequences which nobody wants," it added.

Russia's Interfax news agency reported last week that an undisclosed number of Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles had been delivered to Syria, part of a total order of 72 of the missiles.

Israel fears the weapons may fall into the hands of Hezbollah militants in neighbouring Lebanon.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Monday that the Palestinian initiative for full membership at the United Nations would continue, although its formal application to the Security Council appears deadlocked.

The Palestinians had to get nine votes from the 15 Security Council members when they applied for full membership in September, but too many said they would abstain or oppose the bid.

Even if they had succeeded, the United States had made it clear it would veto the Palestinian bid.

The United States and Israel insist that only an Israeli-Palestinian accord can lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.

The Middle East Quartet -- the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States -- has been working to relaunch direct peace talks, which ground to a halt shortly after they began over the issue of Israeli settlements.

© 2011 AFP

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