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Lieberman threatens to expel UN envoy over Hamas funding claims

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened on Saturday that the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry could be declared persona non grata for allegedly trying to help transfer Qatari funds to the Hamas government in Gaza.

According to Israeli Channel 2, Lieberman said that Serry tried, though unsuccessfully, to convince the Palestinian Authority to transfer $20 million from Qatar to solve a payroll crisis in the Gaza Strip. He then suggested direct help from the UN, Lieberman claimed.

However, Serry’s spokesman Mourad Bakri told AFP that it was the PA which approached the UN diplomat over this issue.

“The UN position is clear – there will be no assistance (in making a transfer) without the agreement of all parties concerned, including Israel,” he said, pointing out that Israel was kept in the picture regarding all these talks.

Israeli television, however, reported that Lieberman will suggest in an emergency meeting on Sunday the declaration of Serry as persona non grata in Israel, which could lead to his expulsion.

Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held talks with UN secretary general, wherein he objected to Qatar’s funding of Hamas, which he considers “responsible” for the abduction of three Israeli teens on June 12. Qatar announced on June 13 that it would pay $60 million to the PA to be able to pay salaries of Gazan employees.

 

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