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Israeli FM: Europe Should Solve Own Problems Before Ours

Israeli Foreign Minister, Avidgor Lieberman (file photo)

Israel's foreign minister has suggested that France and Spain solve Europe's problems before lecturing his country on how to deal with the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Avidgor Lieberman made the comment Sunday in Jerusalem in a meeting with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner and Spanish counterpart Miguel Moratinos.

Lieberman told the two diplomats that Israel will not allow itself to become a victim of appeasement in the same way that European powers "sacrificed" Czechoslovakia to appease Nazi Germany, as he put it.

Kouchner and Moratinos are in the Middle East to try to keep the peace process going. They met earlier Sunday with other Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The European Union has been urging Israel to reinstate a freeze on settlement activity in the occupied West Bank to prevent a collapse of recently-renewed peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel says the freeze that ended last month was a one-time peace gesture and wants the Palestinians to continue direct talks that began last month without preconditions.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to resume the talks until Israel stop all construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands the Palestinians want for a future state.