Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Barak Sets Limit for Joining Coalition

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Barak Sets Limit for Joining Coalition

Article excerpt

JERUSALEM -- Efforts to set up a broad-based unity government hit a snag yesterday when outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Barak said his Labor party would not join if Ariel Sharon brings in far-right parties.

Sharon, elected prime minister in a landslide over Barak on Feb. 6, is negotiating with Labor to set up a joint government. He offered to name Barak defense minister and Labor elder statesman Shimon Peres foreign minister. Barak agreed, setting off a storm of criticism in his own party among activists who thought he should fulfill his pledge to retire after being thrashed in the election.

Sharon must set up a coalition government with a majority in parliament before he can take office.

Speaking to party activists, Barak said Labor would not join Sharon's team unconditionally.

"We are willing to be partners in the molding of policy, but we cannot be soldiers of Sharon or executors of the policy of the right wing," Barak said.

Sharon's plan is to form a broad unity government with Labor and three religious parties. …

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