Arab League head dismisses Liberman's partial embrace of Saudi initiative

Nabil el-Araby says no Israeli government took initiative seriously, therefore there's no reason to take FM seriously.

August 14, 2014 20:51
1 minute read.
cairo talks

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) talks with Arab League Chief Nabil el-Araby during their meeting at the Arab League in Cairo August 11, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman may have come around to the 2002 Saudi peace initiative, later adopted and slightly modified by the Arab League, but the Arab League has not yet come around to Avigdor Liberman.

Liberman, in an interview this week with The Jerusalem Post, broke new ground by saying that the Saudi initiative could be a basis for a “regional comprehensive solution.”

Arab League head Nabil el-Araby, asked about Liberman’s comments at a press conference in Qatar, said it was impossible to build on what Liberman said and that the only thing he was interested in was creating divisions between the Arab world and the rest of the world.

Araby said that the initiative had been on the table for 12 years and no Israeli government took it seriously.

He said there was no reason, therefore, to believe Liberman’s sincerity when he said it might be possible to use it as a basis to reach a wider regional accord.

In a departure from his previous position, Liberman said in the Tuesday interview that the 2002 Saudi initiative could form the basis for arranging Israel’s relations with the Arab world, as long as it did not include any reference to a Palestinian right of refugee return.

“I think the Saudi initiative is much more relevant today than it was previously,” he said, adding that the central idea behind the proposal was not only an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but an arrangement with the entire Arab world.

Asked what has changed to make him more amenable to the Saudi plan, the foreign minister said there was a greater commonality of interests than there was a decade ago between Israel and the moderate Arab world.

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