Lieberman off to Baltics

Barak gets meetings in DC, Ben-Eliezer meets the Turks.

avigdor lieberman 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
avigdor lieberman 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
While Defense Minister Ehud Barak held high level diplomatic talks in Washington two weeks ago, and Industry, Labor and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was sent to meet Turkey's foreign minister last week, Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman left Sunday for a five-day trip to Latvia, Finland and Lithuania.
The trip came just two days after Lieberman met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for 90 minutes to resolve a mini-crisis that erupted when it was reported that Netanyahu bypassed Lieberman and the foreign ministry and sent Ben-Eliezer to talk to Turkish Foreign Minster Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels to try and halt the deterioration in Israeli-Turkish ties following the May 31 Gaza flotilla episode.
Lieberman issued a statement at the end of his meeting with Netanyahu saying the two agreed that the way the meeting with Davutoglu  was handled "was a mistake," and that Netanyahu and Lieberman would continue to work in full cooperation.
Lieberman issued a statement Sunday following his meeting in Riga with Latvian President Valdis Zatlers, saying that regional issues -- including Iran and Turkey – were discussed in the meting with the Latvian leader. .
On Friday, in an interview on Channel 1, Netanyahu praised Lieberman for taking the types of trips he set out on Sunday morning. "Lieberman is doing a lot of things that the public doesn't appreciate, but which I do," Netanyahu said, when asked if Lieberman was suitable for the foreign ministry. "I think he is doing important work.  He is working in central and eastern Europe, in Africa, in places where we have not worked for many years. I value him."
Lieberman's frequent trips to central and eastern Europe, according to diplomatic officials, are intended to shore up Israel's position in the EU, where small countries like Latvia and Lithuania have the same vote inside the various EU forms as Germany, Britain and France. Two weeks ago, working on the same principle, Lieberman traveled to Malta, which is also a member of the EU.