'Lieberman leaked Zurich meeting'

Herzog says leak didn't serve Israeli interests just a bruised ego.

By JPOST.COM,
July 1, 2010 10:20
2 minute read.
Binyamin Ben Eliezer in Turkey

fuad turkey 311. (photo credit: AP)

Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog on Thursday blamed sources close to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for leaking details regarding of a Zurich meeting between senior Israeli and Turkish officials.

Channel 2 had reported on Wednesday night that Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met secretly to try and repair Israeli-Turkish ties.

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Herzog completely ruled out the possibility of the leak coming from the office of Defense Minister Ehud Barak or other Labor party members. "Everyone knows that Ehud Barak and I have had more than a few arguments, but I do not believe for a second that he had a hand in this leak," Herzog told Army Radio.

Herzog added, "this certainly doesn't serve Israel's interests...it seems likely, in my opinion, that this [leak] came from someone close to the person insulted."

Lieberman issued a harsh response on Wednesday night to a Channel 2 report that Netanyahu had dispatched Ben-Eliezer, known for his good ties with the Turks, to a meeting with Davutoglu that took place in Zurich without informing Lieberman. Ehud Barak reportedly also knew about the meeting.

“The foreign minister views very gravely the fact that this was done without informing the Foreign Ministry,” said a statement put out by Lieberman’s office. “This harms both the norms of orderly government and the confidence between the foreign minister and the prime minister.”

The statement said that Lieberman planned to clarify the matter “to the fullest.”

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement of its own, saying that the failure to inform Lieberman of the meeting was due to “technical” reasons.

Details of a meeting between Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday in Zurich were published by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet on Thursday.

Davutoglu was revealed in the newspaper to have taken a private jet to the Zurich meeting to keep his departure from Ankara and participation in a meeting with the Israeli minister low-profile.

The meeting was aimed at improving relations that have deteriorated since the May 31 IDF raid on a Turkish-owned ship trying to block the blockade on Gaza, in which nine Turkish men were killed.


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