FM: I am not a PM spokesman, I'm entitled to my own opinion

Lieberman defends comments he made against Turkey, insists "making concessions to PA will not help Israel" Livni says Netanyahu responsible for comments made by FM.

December 27, 2010 09:19
2 minute read.
Lieberman speaks to the press

Lieberman growling at podium 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman defended his right to his own opinion on Monday, and stood by comments he had made regarding Turkey the previous day.

Speaking to Israel Radio, Lieberman insisted that he is not a spokesman for the prime minister, and that he had spoken at a closed Foreign Ministry conference, where it is possible to raise different opinions.

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On Sunday, during an annual gathering of Israel’s ambassadors and counsel-generals at the Foreign Ministry, Lieberman had said that Ankara’s demand for an apology over the Mavi Marmara incident is “beyond chutzpa.”

Directly after the comments were made, the Prime Minister's Office released a reaction, saying that only Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu represents the government's stance.

"The foreign minister's words reflect his understandings and personal opinions, as the various ministers in the government differ in opinion from one another," the PMO statement explained. "The government's position is only the one expressed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu."

During the Monday interview, Lieberman said that making concessions to the Palestinians will not help Israel. On Sunday he had also discussed the peace process with the Palestinians.

He said that after evacuating settlements from Gaza, and Camp David, we are in the same place.

On Sunday, Lieberman had said that there was a huge rally in Istanbul with incitement against Israel, but no condemnation from Ankara was heard, which "says it all."

Also speaking Monday, opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said that Netanyahu is not correct in saying that the foreign minister does not represent the government's position. Rather, she said, Netanyahu is responsible for Lieberman.

During an interview with Army Radio, Livni said that Lieberman's harsh criticism of Turkey exposes a serious problem with Netanyahu's stance on the issue and said that Israel deserves a braver leader.

At the conference on Sunday, Lieberman had characterized as “lies” and “false promises” comments recently made by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Lieberman was especially angered by remarks Davutoglu made over the weekend that it would have taken Israel days to make the decision to send the kind of help to Turkey that Ankara dispatched during the Carmel forest fire.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report

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