JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israels new government has started off business on a hawkish note, with remarks by its top diplomat sparking fears Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might bury troubled peace talks. But even as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman casts doubts on the future of relations with the Palestinians and Syria. A day after being criticised for saying Israel was not bound by a US-backed agreement to restart talks with the Palestinians, Lieberman rejected any withdrawal from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with neighbour Syria. There is no cabinet resolution regarding negotiations with Syria, and we have already said that we will not agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights, Lieberman told the Haaretz daily. The Golan is a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981. Damascus wants it back as part of any peace treaty. Lieberman had already sparked furious reactions from Palestinians already worried about a cabinet led by Netanyahu, who opposes giving them a state. This minister is an obstacle to peace. He will cause harm to Israel first, Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, told AFP. Nothing obliges us to deal with a racist person hostile to peace such as Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Lieberman, he added. Tzipi Livni, from whom Lieberman took over the foreign ministry, said that with his statements Israel in effect announced that it was no longer a partner in the peace process and called on Netanyahu to distance himself from the comments. Opher Pines-Paz, from the centre-left Labour party that is part of the Netanyahu coalition, compared the Soviet-born ultra-nationalist to a bull in a china shop and warned that he was a strategic threat to Israel. This is proof of total irresponsibility, he told public radio. The damage that he has caused will take years to repair. While the Egyptian foreign ministry called the comments regrettable and the first setback to peace efforts coming from this new Israeli government other international reaction was muted. US President Barack Obama has called advancing a two-state solution critical. Telephong Netanyahu after he took office late on Tuesday, he said he looked forward to working with him on his concerns over Iran and reiterating his desire to advance the peace process. A US State Department spokesman declined to comment on Liebermans statements, saying Washington was instead focusing on Netanyahus pledges to continue negotiations with the Palestinians. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called Lieberman and the two agreed to meet as soon as possible, an official with the latters office told AFP. A spokeswoman for Ban Ki-moon said the UN chief looked forward to working with Netanyahu. This would included resumption of the Middle East peace process, with the aim of achieving an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace with a secure Israel, and a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace as envisaged in Security Council resolutions.