Lieberman: Israel will attend Moscow peace parley
Source said Foreign Minister conditioned Israel's participation on Russia informing it of the content and list of participants at the conference.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has confirmed Israel's participation in a conference being organized in Moscow on the Middle East, which will take place in a few months. A political source in Jerusalem said that Lieberman confirmed Israel's attendance during a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksander Saltanov on Friday.
The same source said that Lieberman conditioned Israel's participation on Russia informing it of the content and list of participants at the conference. "We want to know who the participants will be, what is their level in government, what the conference agenda will be and what is the purpose and outcome of the meeting," Lieberman was quoted as telling the visiting Russian official.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister told Lieberman that the conference is not meant to impose on Israel or the Arab states any position, or to dictate external diplomatic solutions or an agenda that the countries in the region oppose. Lieberman said that Israel would participate if the conference would take place this year, but not for a few months since the government's policy on the Palestinians has not been finalized.
The Russians have been working on the conference for more than a year, trying to promote it as a meeting that would be a continuation of the Annapolis conference of November 2007. Two weeks ago Lieberman said Israel is not committed to the Annapolis process, and the principles guiding the peace process since Oslo in the 1990s should be reevaluated.
In view of this, it is unclear how Lieberman expressed his willingness for Israel to participate. Even though Saltanov was careful not to use the expression "Annapolis process" during the meeting, it is clear that any international conference on the Middle East will require Israeli recognition of the principle of two states for two peoples - otherwise the Palestinians and Arab states will boycott it.