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Israeli Foreign Minister Says No Palestinian State Before 2012

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said no Palestinian state will be founded in the next two years.

Lieberman appeared to be referring to a call by the so-called Quartet of Middle East peace brokers -- Russia, the United States, the European Union, and United Nations -- for an accord to be in place by 2012.

Lieberman, speaking after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Jerusalem, cited difficulties in U.S.-mediated peace negotiations as well as divisions among the Palestinians.

The West Bank government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas accused Lieberman of defying international efforts to wrap up a deal. The militant group Hamas called Lieberman's comments "a severe slap" to those who believe in what they called the "mirage" of a peace agreement.

compiled from agency reports