Lieberman denies reports of coalition crisis over UN bid

Foreign minister says reports that he will leave coalition if Netanyahu doesn't “punish” PA for unilaterally pursuing statehood are not true.

Foreign Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai)
Foreign Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied on Wednesday reports that he will leave the coalition if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not “punish” the Palestinian Authority for unilaterally pursuing statehood.
“It never happened,” Lieberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We will not be quiet about the Palestinian bid, but there is a long way from there to breaking apart the coalition.
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“The writer, whom I know and respect, did not ask me about the matter,” he added. “I do not speak behind closed doors, and I only speak on the record.”
The Yediot Aharonot report that he will leave the coalition is especially damaging “when we are headed for a battle in the UN,” the foreign minister said.
Speaking from New York, Lieberman explained that he has not spoken much to the press about the UN vote, because “we need votes, and you don’t get them by speaking. Some people are supposed to talk, but I am not a spokesman. I speak less, because I want to see this process end.”
There is a good chance a US veto of Palestinian UN membership will not be necessary, as Foreign Ministry representatives have been negotiating intensely with Security Council members.
“Meetings with the Bosnians have been going on for months, and there have been intense talks with Gabon,” Lieberman said. “I don’t want to say that we’re likely to succeed, but we are working hard and investing a lot to get there.”