Israeli foreign minister’s visit irks German politicians

Israeli foreign minister's visit irks German politicians
Photo: DPA
German politicians expressed disappointment on Friday over a visit from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this week, saying he treated them like weaklings.

“It was a swan song of soft power in every way,” foreign policy expert for the pro-business Free Democrats Werner Hoyer told daily Berliner Zeitung. “Lieberman sees us Europeans as a pile of cowards.”

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with Lieberman on Thursday discuss the Middle East peace process and other regional issues on Wednesday.

Steinmeier emphasised Berlin’s expectations that the new Israeli government would adhere to agreements made in previous negotiations and move towards a goal of a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But Hoyer told the Berliner Zeitung that he saw “no noticeable outlook for a secure Israeli future” during the visit.

Meanwhile foreign policy expert for the centre-left Social Democrats Gert Weisskirchn said Lieberman focused most on containing Iran and the terrorist organisations Hezbollah and Hamas.

“If I try to frame it in a positive light, then Lieberman is playing the role of the bad guy, Weisskirchen said, adding that at least he hadn’t discussed trying to bring Iran to its knees.

Vice head for the environmentalist Green Party’s parliamentary group Jürgen Trittin said Lieberman left the idea of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine open to interpretation.

“Germany expects the Israeli government – and Foreign Minister Lieberman – to stop building settlements, for settlers to retreat from the West Bank, and for promises made in Oslo and Annapolis to be kept,” Trittin told the paper.

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