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      Lieberman Heads to Berlin to Meet Local Officials

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman leaves for Berlin, where he will meet senior officials and the head of the Jewish community.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 5/7/2012, 5:15 AM

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
      Flash 90

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman left on Sunday for Berlin, where he will meet senior officials and the head of the Jewish community in the German capital.

      According to a statement by Lieberman’s office, over the course of his two-day visit he will be holding talks with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schauble and Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel.

      According to an AFP report, Lieberman's meetings are expected to focus on Iran's nuclear program.

      Westerwelle said last week that the international community will block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

      “The current Iranian nuclear program represents an enormous danger, not only to Israel but to the region as a whole,” Westerwelle told a Jewish Global Forum in Washington.

      “We cannot and will not accept an Iranian nuclear weapon... We need substantive and verifiable guarantees that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon,” he added.

      Westerwelle called for further negotiations with Tehran, stressing that “our unity and our resolve are showing results.”

      At the same time, he made clear that “our patience is limited. We will not accept playing for time,” adding that “the Iranian regime continues to threaten Israel with annihilation.”

      “I want you to know that we will continue to stand by Israel's side,” Westerwelle said.

      The Israeli foreign minister will also meet the head of Berlin's Jewish community Gideon Joffe and speak at a Germany-Israel friendship event, the statement from his office said. Lieberman will return to Israel on Tuesday.

      Last week, the IDF launched the fourth Dolphin-class submarine – the INS Tanin [Crocodile] – to enter the service of Israel's Navy. The project was assisted by Germany, and Israel has already purchased a fifth Dolphin-class submarine at a subsidized rate from Berlin. There is also an option for a sixth.

      Also on Sunday, President Shimon Peres flew to Canada for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders. In this visit as well, the Iranian nuclear threat will top the agenda.

      Peres will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition leader Thomas Muclair to discuss recent developments in Iran’s nuclear development as well as what the President’s office described “changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.”