The U.S. State Dept. Tuesday dodged a reporter’s suggestion that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won’t meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
State Department spokesman Olivia Nuland was asked why Lieberman, who is planning a visit to the United States, is “having trouble getting senior meetings with people in the State Department? It doesn’t look as if the Secretary will be meeting with him…. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with his conservative views. As a general rule, is he welcomed in the State department?”
Nuland said she was not aware the a visit by Foreign Minister Lieberman has been confirmed. Officials at his office told Arutz Sheva Wednesday that he is planning the trip “in the near future” but that no itinerary has been set.
Pressed by the report concerning Lieberman’s acceptance by the State Department, Nuland did not directly answer if Secretary Clinton would receive him and limited her response to saying, “He has had meetings with State Department officials in the past. State Department officials have also met with him in Israel."
In other comments on Israel at the daily press session, Nuland rejected the idea that the Quartet’s January 26 deadline is the last word on the continuation of talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
The quartet has demanded that both sides present proposals on security arrangements and borders by that date. The PA did so right away, repeating its previous demands for a Palestinian Authority country on all of the land on Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967.
Israel last week presented a 21-point proposal that the PA rejected out of hand, and its chief negotiator said Tuesday, following the fifth session in Amman, there would be no more talks.
Nuland, who spoke before the PA’s declaration, said, “We are hoping to do is to move from these preliminary discussions that are ongoing now to real concrete proposals by both sides that can be exchanged in a real, direct negotiation.”