Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Saturday rejected reports that Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid would serve as foreign minister in the next government, stating that the portfolio would remain with his party.
While Liberman can not serve as foreign minister while an indictment against him for fraud is pending, he told Channel 2 on Saturday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would fill in as foreign minister, and that he would retake the position after being cleared of charges.
Liberman stated that Lapid was worthy to be in the coalition, but as someone who asked, "Where is the money?" as his campaign slogan, it was only natural that he go to the Finance Ministry.
"At the Knesset swearing in ceremony, I spoke to him, he understands his limitations despite what's said in public, he understands that he must be in the coalition. We need the widest possible coalition."
Liberman said that he was not ruling out anyone for the coalition at this point, and stated that he would "praise" the inclusion of Tzipi Livni in the government.
Amid specualtion that Netanyahu would take steps to advance the peace process in his coming term, Liberman stated that negotiations could only be for a long-term interim agreement with the Palestinians and a solution to the conflict was "impossible at this point."
Liberman also addressed comments by his former deputy, Danny Ayalon, made earlier on Saturday,
in which he stated that Liberman's undiplomatic statements had led to him being "treated like a leper" in the world.
He suggested that Ayalon's criticism was sour grapes, saying that after having been left off of Yisrael Beytenu's party list he "changed 180 degrees."