Lieberman on Secret Vienna Trip: Crucial Matters Discussed, Media Needn't Know Everything

Foreign Minister welcomes State Comptroller investigation, lashes out at Haaretz for inaccurate reporting on the secret trip.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at a cabinet meeting on July 31, 2014.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at a cabinet meeting on July 31, 2014.Credit: Moti Milrod
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday brushed off criticism over his secret trip to Vienna, revealed in Haaretz two weeks ago, telling Army Radio in an interview that the visit was focused on "crucial matters" and that it was not iniquitous in any way.

Lieberman said that during the secret trip he met with his close friend and benefactor, the businessman Martin Schlaff, but rejected MK Shelly Yacimovich's criticism regarding the meeting, and said he welcomed the State Comptroller's investigation into the matter.

"First thing when I returned from Austria, the first telephone call I made was to the state comptroller," Lieberman said. "I picked up the phone and said I wanted him to check and tell me if the trip was proper or not proper, if everything was in order or not in order. Martin Schlaff is indeed a good friend of mine and I always enjoy meeting with him when the chance arises, and it has nothing to do with my role as foreign minister."

Lieberman added that his secret trip involved important work, but that he could not reveal the details. "Not everything can be babbled about in the media," he said. "I definitely think that the state comptroller should check and say his piece, and unfortunately, I can't go into details. You know, we're talking about crucial matters and not everything can be discussed in the media."

Lieberman also said that he did not hide his Vienna visit from the foreign ministry, and that the trip was even approved by the cabinet. "The plane tickets were ordered through the foreign ministry, I met with members of the embassy, both when I arrived and when I left Vienna," he said. "You can talk nonsense, that doesn't cost anything, but first know the facts and then ask the questions. [Everything was done] according to procedure."

The foreign minister lashed out at Haaretz for revealing the secret trip: "I don't speak on behalf of Haaretz and Haaretz is not responsible for ministers' trips," he said, adding that the details of the trip as published in the paper were not accurate. "I am not the Haaretz publisher and this is not the first time Haaretz has been inaccurate, particularly with regards to Avigdor Lieberman."

In a series of articles on Lieberman's trip, Haaretz revealed the foreign minister met with Schlaff, an Austrian businessman who had long been wanted for questioning by the Israel Police on corruption charges, Lieberman’s office confirmed last Monday. Lieberman additionally met with his close friend and ally, Milorad Dodik, a Serbian nationalist and separatist who currently serves as president of Republika Srpska – one of the semiautonomous regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage