Spanish FM cancels Lieberman meeting

Madrid cites Chavez meeting as reason; Kadima MK: Cancellation testifies to Spain's distorted priorities.

avigdor lieberman growling (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
avigdor lieberman growling
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos cancelled a meeting with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, scheduled for Thursday, on the grounds that the Spanish government called him back to Madrid in order to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez arrived in Spain after he visited Iran, where he told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Venezuela would be happy to supply Iran with gasoline in case international sanctions call to halt fuel exports to Iran. Moratinos' office said Chavez had advanced his arrival in Spain and this was the reason he cut short his visit to Israel, but the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem expressed amazement at the cancellation, saying the time of the Venezuelan president's arrival in Spain was known in advance. Moratinos has been in Israel for several days and already met President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. The Spanish Foreign Ministry said that Moratinos called Lieberman and apologized for the need to shorten his visit and explained he did so at the behest of the Spanish prime minister. The office of Moratinos also said that Lieberman and his Spanish counterpart have talked over the phone several times this week on current issues and will continue the good communications between the sides. MK Robert Tibayev, No. 20 on Kadima's list, said that "despite our differences with Lieberman, the fact that the Spanish foreign minister cancels a meeting with the Israeli foreign minister in order to be present at a meeting with the dictator from Venezuela, testifies first and foremost to the distorted priorities of the Spanish government."