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Obama`s vision for Palestinian state `unrealistic`: Israeli FM

Last Updated: Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 22:07

Jerusalem: Israel`s hardline Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday said US President Barack
Obama`s vision for the establishment of a Palestinian state
within two years is "unrealistic" but vowed not to create
obstacles in the path of those trying to reach a peace deal in
the region.

"A Palestinian state within two years is not a
realistic goal. There are those who believe in this and I
don`t want to disturb them," Lieberman told reporters after
the weekly Cabinet meeting.

"Bringing President Obama`s dream to fruition in two
years, including an overall agreement and a (Palestinian)
state, is an unrealistic goal" as a peace deal was unlikely --
even by 2025, he said.

The hawkish Foreign Minister said "when we signed the
Oslo Accords... we conceitedly set the goal of an overall
agreement within five years. Sixteen years have passed since
then. Even in another 16 years, we won`t have an agreement".

He vowed to stay away from the process out of his
convictions but also not to subvert it in any way during an
agreed time framework.

"I`m willing to allow for a period of time during which
there will be another attempt to arrive at a Palestinian
state, but I will not take on a task that I do not believe in.
Nonetheless, I am not getting in the way nor will I make
trouble for trouble`s sake," Lieberman said.

The controversial minister, who heads the
ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, also vowed not to
bolt the Benjamin Netanyahu government during the next one

"During the first year (in power) the government needs
to exhaust all possible (peace) processes. I am not setting
any red lines and I am giving other officials in the
government a chance to prove that I am wrong," the Foreign
Minister said.

"How I wish I would be proved wrong and there will be
peace and brotherhood," he stressed.

Lieberman also said "One of the Foreign Ministry`s
mistakes was to turn itself into a ministry for Palestinian
affairs. I have no intention of doing that, no plans for
obsessive engagement".

Obama has reportedly presented Egypt and Israel a plan
for a two-state solution to be finalised within two years.

A source in Cairo told London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat
that Obama raised the plan with Prime Minister Netanyahu
during the latter`s visit to Washington earlier this year.

According to the report, the plan envisions a Middle
East peace deal by 2011 and would encompass an agreement for a
Palestinian state.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 22:07

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