Egypt condemns Israeli foreign minister's statements on Annapolis process

Israel Materials 2 April 2009 18:05 (UTC +04:00)

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Thursday called the new Israeli foreign minister's rejection of the Annapolis process "the first setback for efforts toward peace" under the new Israeli government, reported dpa.

Addressing Israeli diplomats for the first time as foreign minister on Wednesday, Avigdor Lieberman said the Annapolis process had "no validity whatsoever."

"Cairo was not surprised by such statements that came from the new Israeli foreign minister on his first day on duty," Egypt's Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to reporters Thursday.

Lieberman and the new Israeli government's "stance on the Palestinians and on ending the conflict through political negotiations is well known," the statement continued.

The 40 countries that attended the 2007 conference at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis agreed on the importance of establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel and called for immediate negotiations on a final agreement, including on such issues as the status of Jerusalem, borders and refugees.

Lieberman on Wednesday said Israel was not bound by the Annapolis conference, but would abide by the 2003 "Road Map," which called for the Palestinians to rein in militants before negotiations began on a final-status agreement.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Thursday said that Egypt was waiting for the reactions of the European Union and the United States to Lieberman's latest statements.

"The opinions of these countries are important," the statement said, "because they are Israel's allies and because they have responsibilities and commitments to end the Arab-Israeli dispute through a two-state solution."