JERUSALEM, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would not advance in the next four years.
Lieberman, who is incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu' s number 2 on the joint Likud-Beytenu's roster, talked at the Knesset (parliament) just before the inauguration of the new government.
"If you try to remember four years back, during the establishment of the second Netanyahu government, there was a lot of talk about the Palestinians issue," Lieberman said, adding "I think that after four years, people should look at where we were and where we are today with that topic. I see no change, no progress."
He added that Obama's visit to the region later this week is an "achievement" and it would not focus on the Palestinian issue but rather over the topic of Iran.
Lieberman further stressed that his party would not go for another settlement freeze like the ten month construction halt in the settlements which Netanyahu announced upon in 2009.
"After that 10-months period in which we agreed to freeze the construction of settlements, after we've seen no results, I said that I would object to any further attempt to freeze the construction of settlements. We're ready for gestures but they cannot be one-sided," he added.
Speaking of the newly-established government, he said that there are "common grounds" between members of the coalition and said that the first challenge that the new government would face is passing the 2013-2014 budget.
Lieberman also stated that the Likud-Beytenu would remain one party and will not be broken up.
Lieberman, who served as a foreign minister in Netanyahu's second government, is currently facing trial for charges of breach of trust and fraud.
In a questionable move, Netanyahu announced that he would currently keep the foreign affairs portfolio and hold it for Lieberman until his legal problems are over.
Lieberman chairs the nationalistic Yisrael Beytenu party and is known in Israel as well as throughout the world as a hawkish politician.