October 8, 2009 / 12:47 PM / 10 years ago

TEXT-Lieberman says peace deal seems "impossible"

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met U.S. President Barack Obama’s envoy George Mitchell on Thursday. Earlier, Lieberman made the following remarks to Israel Radio. The translation from Hebrew is by Reuters:

"In the years since Oslo (the interim peace accords of 1993), every Israeli leader has tried but has not reached a comprehensive peace ... Why didn’t they achieve the end of conflict? Why didn’t they reach a comprehensive agreement? Because it seems that it’s impossible to reach.

"And I say again that whoever says that it’s possible to reach in the coming years a comprehensive agreement that means the end of conflict, that both sides sign up to the end of conflict, simply does not understand the reality. He is spreading illusions and in the end brings only disappointment and drags us into comprehensive confrontation.

"I will tell him (Mitchell) clearly: there are many conflicts in the world that haven’t reached a comprehensive solution and people have learned to live with this (he then cites Cyprus, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Falkland Islands)....

"But together with this, those people made the most dramatic decision — to renounce the use of force, to give up terror and to stop inciting one against the other. And only after a period like this, of calm, of stability, is it possible to reach a comprehensive agreement.

"Until then, it is not possible to solve the core issues.

"We need to be realistic. Not to live with illusions or create expectations that are impossible to realise. The failure to realise those high expectations in the end cause frustration and push people towards violence."

Q: So we sit and do nothing?

"On the contrary. We act. Here, what it is possible to reach is a long-term intermediate agreement and that is the only thing. A long-term intermediate agreement that leaves the tough issues for a much later stage.

"You can’t coerce peace. You can create peace. And the correct order is first and foremost security and economy and stability, and afterwards a peace agreement. Every time, we have tried to change the order. First a peace agreement and afterwards we’ll create security and economy and stability. It doesn’t work. After 16 years we can conclude that, apparently, the patent has failed."

(Editing by Samia Nakhoul)

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