independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Israeli foreign minister resigns

Avigdor Lieberman has announced he is resigning as Israeli foreign minister (AP)

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced he is resigning a day after an indictment for breach of trust was filed against him by the country's attorney general.

Mr Lieberman's decision could throw the Israeli political system into upheaval a month ahead of elections.

Israel's attorney general indicted Mr Lieberman on Thursday for alleged breach of trust, but decided not to file a number of more serious charges in a fraud and money-laundering case.

"I have decided to resign from my position as foreign minister and deputy prime minister," Mr Lieberman wrote in a statement released by his office.

Mr Lieberman continued to maintain his innocence and indicated that he could return to politics in time for the national elections in January if he was cleared or could reach a plea bargain.

"Even though I know I did not break any law... I have decided to resign from my position as foreign minister and deputy prime minister," Mr Lieberman said. "After 16 years of investigations against me I can end this issue quickly without delay and completely clear my name."

Mr Lieberman said he made the decision after conferring with his lawyers and with his election campaign staff.

"I am doing this because I am convinced that Israel's citizens should be able to go to the polls after this matter has been settled... and I can continue to serve the state of Israel and Israel's citizens as part of a strong united leadership that will cope with the security, economic and political challenges it faces," he said.

Press Association

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