Lieberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Photo by Emil Salman
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected on Tuesday the European Union's peace initiative. The plan, revealed in Haaretz on Tuesday, aims to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority by convening a Middle East peace conference in Paris.

"This is an attempt to distort the international community's correct set of priorities," Lieberman told Army Radio, stressing that the current events in Iran and Syria should take precedence.

"We know a lot of initiatives, and not just from today," Lieberman said. "There is a French initiative and a plan for a conference in Moscow, but when I speak to my colleagues I tell them, 'you are trying to take the Palestinian story and alter the natural agenda in the Middle East."

Lieberman mentioned the events in Syria and Yemen, saying "you can't compare the situation in the Arab world to what is happening here… and we haven't even mentioned the situation in Iran, Sudan and Pakistan."

"The attempt give top priority to the Palestinian issue is naïve," he said.

Earlier Tuesday, In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, called for the urgent convening of the Middle East Quartet. The Quartet - the U.S., EU, UN and Russia - would gather as a precursor for support for a peace plan based on the Middle East policy speech delivered by President Barack Obama at the State Department last month.

In Ashton's letter, a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz, she noted "dramatic developments across the Arab world" and a "positive process of transition." In other countries, however, "regimes are holding on to power, spreading insecurity and instability across the region.
"This situation makes it even more urgent to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Ashton added. "Unfortunately, we have not seen any progress on that front."