Avigdor Lieberman, the former foreign minister, will return to the cabinet, the Israeli prime minister has said.

Netanyahu made the announcement on Wednesday shortly after Lieberman was cleared by an Israeli court on charges of fraud and breach of trust.

He was unanimously acquitted by a panel of three judges at Jerusalem Magistrates Court in a hearing which lasted just a few minutes, an Israeli radio station said.

"I congratulate you on the unanimous acquittal and am happy about your return to the Israeli government so we can continue working together for the good of the people of Israel," Netanyahu told Lieberman, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.

He did not say what role Lieberman would take in government, but Netanyahu has kept the foreign ministry portfolio open for him pending the verdict.

Lieberman, who takes a tough line on talks with Palestinians, stepped down as head of the Foreign Ministry last year after being charged with fraud and breach of trust over the appointment process of a ambassador.

Source: Agencies