UN Chief Chides Lieberman for Breaching Confidentiality of Talks

Lieberman tells Ban that Israel seeks more objectivity from world instead of pressure and demands.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday criticized Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for releasing information about what Ban said was a confidential telephone call between the two men.

"I'm troubled by just a unilateral announcement," Ban told reporters when asked about media reports that Lieberman had urged the secretary-general to be more balanced with Israel.

"That is regrettable," said Ban, who was visibly upset. "Normal diplomatic practice is that you agree in advance" on the release of information about such conversations to the media.

Ban added that that the point of that practice is "to preserve confidentiality and diplomatic and political sensitivities."

Lieberman told Ban in a conversation Monday night that Israel expects a more objective and constructive approach from the international community.

Ban was expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Moscow on Friday to hold talks on the stalled Middle East peace process.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Quartet representative for economic development in Palestinian territories, and U.S. special envoy George Mitchell will also attend, the U.S. State Department said.

Ban was also expected to travel to Israel on Saturday.

"We are getting the feeling that all of the effort and positive steps Israel has taken over the last year, including [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's] Bar-Ilan speech, the settlement freeze and the removal of checkpoints have been taken for granted by the international community," said Lieberman.

"There has been no encouragement or incentive toward Israel as a result of these steps, only additional pressure, complaints and demands," he said.

Lieberman went on to tell Ban, "Israel expects a more objective and constructive approach from the international community."

The foreign minister added that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. "We know from experience that the demand to bring construction materials and steel [into the Gaza] is designed to have Hamas confiscate the materials and use them to build rockets and bunkers."

The European Union made a new push Monday to revive the stalled Mideast peace process, offering to raise aid to the Palestinians and beef up its security missions in Lebanon and the Palestinian areas to help Israel.