August 22, 2012 - 18:45 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked his far-right foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on Wednesday for suggesting Palestinians should vote out their president to help revive peace efforts, Reuters reported.
In a letter to Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, and the Middle East peacemaking Quartet's top diplomats, Lieberman accused President Mahmoud Abbas of "acting to undermine attempts to renew the peace process".
Lieberman urged the Palestinians to hold a long-delayed election to choose "a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic" leadership that can "bring progress with Israel".
Abbas was elected in 2005 and his original mandate expired in 2009. However, plans for a new ballot have been regularly postponed because of a deep schism within Palestinian politics.
Through an official in his office, Netanyahu swiftly distanced himself from Lieberman's comments.
Lieberman heads the Yisrael Beitenu party, which holds 15 of the 66 seats that Netanyahu's coalition controls in the 120-member parliament.
"What was written in the letter by the foreign minister does not correctly represent the position of the prime minister or of the government as a whole," said the official, who declined to be identified by name.
"While the Palestinian leadership under Abu Mazen (Abbas) has created difficulties that have prevented the resumption of talks, Israel is committed to working with the Palestinian leadership to restarting the dialogue, and of course Israel does not interfere in election processes in other places," the official said.