President George W. Bush said during a meeting with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni at the White House that he "is deeply committed to Israel's security."
American sources who attended the meeting reported that talks focused on Iran's nuclear threat. Livni refused to comment on the meeting but aides said Livni discussed a series of issues with her host in a meeting that was described as "warm."
President Bush and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (Photo: AFP)
Senior administration officials lately relayed similar messages to other Israeli officials who visited Washington.
After talks with Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington last week, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu said the Bush administration is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Washington is discussing with world powers a draft for a United Nations resolution calling for sanctions on Iran over its defiance of a Security Council deadline to halt uranium enrichment.
In talks with Livni on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the US is working Germany, Britain, France, Russia, and China on a draft resolution calling for the imposition of sanctions against Iran.
American officials said Bush and Livni also discussed an initiative by Arab states to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Arab countries are pushing for a debate on the Middle East at the Security Council.
US officials said the initiative hit a dead end.
Livni said peace talks should be based on the road map peace plan, which was endorsed by the Quartet – the US, UN, Russia and the EU.
Lebanon aid frozen
Speaking of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the fighting between Israel and Hizbullah, Livni said she is optimistic the resolution will be implemented.
France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have agreed to send troops to Lebanon as UN peacekeepers. Livni said the peace forces' main task will be to halt arms shipments to Hizbullah from Iran via Syria.
The US House of Representatives froze USD 10 million in aid to Lebanon, saying Beirut failed to observe the embargo as weapons are being smuggled from Syria to Hizbullah.
Democratic Senator Tom Lantos told Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Defense Minister Elias Murr that funds will be funneled once UN peacekeeping forces are deployed along the Syrian-Lebanese border.