WikiLeaks cable: Russian leadership viewed Lieberman as 'one of its own'
Message from U.S. embassy to State Department shows FM was treated as an 'old friend' during a 2009 visit to Moscow.
The Russian leadership sees Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as "one its own," a U.S. official indicated in a WikiLeaks document released on Sunday.
The cable was sent to the State Department from the U.S. embassy in Moscow, discussing Lieberman's visit to Russia in June of 2009, and was based on information provided by deputy FM Yuval Fuchs.
In the cable, the U.S. official said that the FM "cemented Moscow's impression that the Russian-speaking Lieberman is one of their own," saying that the foreign minister "conducted his meetings in Russian, shared stories about Moscow, and smoked, creating a comfortable atmosphere with his Russian interlocutors."
The "Israeli FM 'behaved like an old friend' commented Fuchs, who thought that the Russians acted as if they already knew him," adding, however, that it was "too early to say whether this personal diplomacy would have a measurable effect on already strong Russia-Israel relations.
The talks themselves, Fuchs told the U.S. embassy in Moscow, were not without disagreement, as Lieberman rebuffed Russian requests to ease Israel's blockade on Gaza, as well as disagreeing with his hosts on the need for a West Bank settlement freeze.
Fuchs also reportedly updated the State Department of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's criticism of U.S. policy, saying that Hamas would not have taken power had the U.S. adhered to Russia's advice concerning elections in the Palestinian Authority.