Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Diplomatic triumph for supposedly un-diplomatic Israeli foreign minister

It looks as if controversial Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is starting off his tenure with some diplomatic success.

This is the same Lieberman who called for Arab members of the Knesset who met with Hamas to be tried for treason, and during the most recent set of elections, advocated that Israelis Arabs be required to take loyalty oaths. Here is a transcript of an interview he gave to the Washington Post:

Many observers expected Lieberman to make a poor showing as foreign minister. But so far, that seems not to be the case. He has managed to establish an embassy in Turkmenistan. That might seem like small potatoes, but apparently this is fairly significant for Israel.

Israel has tried for the last 17 years to establish an embassy with no avail. Turkmenistan wanted to maintain good relations with Iran which of course detests Israel. Lieberman held secret meetings with Turkmenistan’s government and played an important role in getting the embassy opened. In foreign policy circles, this should do something to soften his image as an extremist.

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