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Livni, Netanyahu in one of their meetings Photo: Yaron Brener
Livni, Netanyahu in one of their meetings Photo: Yaron Brener
 
 

Livni: Netanyahu must decide - Right or us

After series of meetings with Likud chairman, Kadima leader remains firm in demands, including agreement on two-state solution, rotation in PM's role. Meanwhile, Netanyahu aide says 'door still open for Kadima'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 03.15.09, 13:24 / Israel News

Despite the rekindled coalition talks between Kadima and Likud, Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni remained firm in her position Sunday.

 

Speaking to ministers outside of the weekly cabinet meeting, Livni said there would be no coalition agreement with Likud that would not include the Annapolis inspired two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and "equal partnership" in the government – meaning rotation in the prime minister's role.

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"This is Bibi's (Netanyahu) basic choice," Livni told the ministers, "of whether he goes with the Right or with us. It should be expressed in equal partnership and in the diplomatic field. There will be no agreement without the diplomatic matter."

 

During the cabinet meeting, Livni met in private with Labor Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for about an hour.

 

A sources close to Prime Minister-designate Netanyahu said that while there was a chance that Likud would sign a coalition agreement with several right-wing parties, "the door is still open for Kadima".

 

According to an aide to Netanyahu, "The other partners know very well that there is a chance for a broad unity government and everything that comes with it, and that Kadima will get whatever it deserves in accordance with its size and significance in the government."

 

Livni wants 'entire package'

Earlier Sunday, it was reported that Netanyahu and Livni met several times last week and spoke on the phone a few more times in an attempt to renew coalition talks. News of the series of meetings came after the parties reported only one meeting between the two leaders last week.

 

Ynet has also learned that the Likud leader's associate, Attorney Yitzhak Molcho, was privy to the talks and was helping bridge the differences.

 

Sources involved in the talks told Ynet that Livni wants "the entire package" from Netanyahu and would not settle for only part of the demands.

 

In the meetings, the Kadima chairwoman reiterated her demand for an equal government which would be based on Kadima and the Likud, and a commitment from Netanyahu in the diplomatic field.

 

Over the weekend, Likud, Kadima and Labor Party officials continued to discuss the possibility of forming a national unity government.

 

However, senior Likud officials who spoke to Benjamin Netanyahu got the impression that the prime minister-designate is unenthusiastic about Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni's demand for a rotation in the prime minister's role.

 

Ynet reported on Friday that the secret talks between Kadima and the Likud were resumed in recent days. Netanyahu even spoke to senior Kadima officials, but a party source clarified that "these are not negotiation discussions".

 

Other senior officials from both parties also held secret talks, including Knesset Members Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) and Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima), who discussed the possibility of resuming the official negotiations for the establishment of a unity government.

 

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