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Liberman outlines vision for 'regional arrangement' with Arab states

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman offers a plan for open contacts with "moderate" Arab states to deal with the threat from Iran and in pursuit of an agreement with the Palestinians.
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman attends a meeting with the business community in Uganda's capital Kampala, September 10, 2009. Lieberman, accompanied by business and military delegation, is on an official African visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria. REUTERS/James Akena (UGANDA POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR27O1U
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Avigdor Liberman, the Israeli foreign minister, has had quite enough with leading a double life. Addressing students at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya on June 2, he threw a curveball: “I have had my fill of secret meetings. The Arab world needs to overcome the psychological barrier. When you meet with them in secret, they talk to you like peers, so you enjoy the conversation. Later on, when you meet them at international venues, suddenly they treat you like the enemy. So I want to make it harder on them. When I speak about diplomacy, its best form is when everything is on the table and out in the open, not in some secret agreements.”

For the first time, Liberman openly hinted at the elaborate web of contacts, encounters and secret relations Israel has fostered with large parts of the Arab world. By and large, these contacts take place with countries that have not even recognized Israel and have never missed an opportunity to smear it or bash its policy. These secret relations have thrived particularly over the last few years, having reached their all-time zenith. Naturally, the engine that drives this phenomenon forward is Iran and its aspirations for regional hegemony, as well as the Sunni-Shiite war that has been raging in the Middle East in the past few years.

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