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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to "shake from himself completely" the statements made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday, when he said Israel had no obligations to the understandings reached during the Annapolis summit but only to the Road Map presented several years earlier.
Livni told Army Radio that Lieberman "showed the world that we are not a partner [for peace]." She said Israel was always complaining that there was no partner for peace on the Palestinian side, but that Lieberman's position would in fact make the international community perceive Israel as the main obstacle.
Earlier, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) told the station that Lieberman did not say anything extraordinary, and was only expressing views held by most Israelis.
Also on Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Lieberman to congratulate him on taking office. The two also decided to schedule a meeting some time in the future.
Apart from downplaying the significance of the Annapolis initiative, Lieberman also attempted in his speech to repair some diplomatic damage he caused in October when he said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could "go to hell" if he didn't want to visit Israel.
On Wednesday, an Egyptian official said Cairo will boycott new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unless he apologized for insulting statements he has made about the country.
When asked how the Egyptian government would deal with Lieberman, the official said, "We're not. He has insulted us before. Now he has to apologize" for the past statements he has made.
And if he does not apologize?
"That's it. We will not deal with him," the official told The Jerusalem Post. "Take what I'm telling you as reliable."
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Israel Beiteinu), however, told the Post that the Egyptians were "not demanding an apology."
Ayalon, who was in contact with the Egyptians on Wednesday, said "a very solid foundation has been established for good working relations with the Egyptians. We respect them. They are a leading country in the region, certainly the leader of the Arab world, and we will continue to cooperate with them, and to strengthen the relations for the benefit of stability and progress toward peace and prosperity."
Herb Keinon and Brenda Gazzar contributed to this report