Netanyahu and Lieberman Formalize Coalition Deal

Lieberman Could Be Named Foreign Minister


Published March 16, 2009.
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Benjamin Netanyahu signed a coalition agreement with Yisrael Beiteinu in which he reportedly will name Avigdor Lieberman foreign minister.

The agreement was signed late Sunday night, according to reports, and gives the controversial party the tourism, infrastructure and immigrant absorption portfolios, as well as the chairmanship of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

The parties agreed that the deal could change in the event of the formation of a unity government. Netanyahu, the prime minister-designate, is still negotiating with Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni in a bid to form a broad coalition rather than the narrow right-wing government he has now.

Hours before the agreement was signed, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged Netanyahu to form a broad coalition and threatened to deal differently with a government that does not commit to a two-state solution for making peace with the Palestinians.

“We will be ready to do business as usual, normally with a government in Israel that is prepared to continue talking and working for a two-state solution,” Solana told reporters.  “If that is not the case, the situation would be different.”

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