Israel: Lieberman set for return to government after acquittal

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Israel’s hardline former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman is poised for a political comeback after being acquitted of corruption charges by a court in Jerusalem.

Lieberman had denied fraud and breach of trust. He was accused of giving an Israeli diplomat an ambassador’s post in exchange for a tip-off about a police investigation into his affairs.

“This chapter is now behind me,” he told reporters outside court.

Lieberman has been outspokenly sceptical of US-backed peace talks with the Palestinians, which resumed in July, saying he thought any permanent deal was “impossible”.

His ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party is allied with the
right-wing Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The premier congratulated Lieberman on his acquittal, confirming his return to government. He did not say what role Lieberman would take but the foreign ministry portfolio has been kept open for him.

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