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Israel FM warns against ‘unilateral’ decisions

Published on 14/02/2011

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday warned against "unilateral" decisions and called on the international community to press for a resumption of direct talks with the Palestinians.

“Regarding our relations with the Palestinians, I think it’s very important, crucial, to keep a very balanced position regarding this very sensitive issue,” Lieberman said after talks in Lisbon with his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado.

His comments followed Ireland’s announcement that it would upgrade the status of the Palestinian diplomatic delegation in Dublin to a mission, becoming the fifth European country to accord it a rank just below embassy.

“Every unilateral decision or step will damage very seriously all our efforts to bring a comprehensive solution between us and the Palestinians. I’m sure it’s critical to keep the political process alive,” he said.

“I think the international community must place pressure on the Palestinians to come sit around the table and to discuss all our differences of opinion in direct meetings and direct approach,” he added.

Israel’s foreign ministry had earlier condemned Ireland’s “long-standing biased policy on the Middle East” in response to the announcement regarding the Palestinian delegation.

The last round of negotiations between the two sides collapsed in September after the expiration of a limited freeze on the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.