"Any peace is going to have to be based on enduring principles and not on temporary solutions," Rice said shortly after arriving in Israel Monday night. Rice flew to Israel immediately following a round of diplomatic meetings in Beirut with Lebanese Premier Fouad Siniora.
She stressed that in advancing a solution to the crisis the international community needed to be guided by UN resolution 1559, which stipulates the disarmament of Hizbullah and the redeployment of Lebanese forces along the southern border.
Rice, Livni meet Monday (Photo: Reuters)
"The free world is facing a threat, the goal of Hןzbullah is to set the world aflame and we will not let them succeed," she said. "This is a difficult time for the Israeli people, it is a difficult time for the Lebanese people, it is a difficult time for the Palestinian people."
Rice expressed concern from the humanitarian situation in Lebanon. No one wants to see innocent civilians killed under the current conditions in Lebanon, she said, noting that she planned to discuss the issue further in the framework of her Israeli visit.
Livni: We know why we're fighting
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also highlighted UN resolution 1559: “The international community and the free world led by the United States are acting out of a common understanding not merely of the causes of the crisis, but also of the method of solving it – based on UN Security Council resolution 1559 and the G8’s decisions.”
“The kidnapped soldiers must be released. Hizbullah must be disarmed and the Lebanese government’s sovereignty must be enforced across the state. I want to be clear – there is not conflict between Israel and the citizens of Lebanon. But Israel has no greater duty than its duty towards its citizens," Livni said.
"In my opinion, this is a moment of truth not only for Israel and the Lebanese government, but for the entire international community which must act to enforce its decisions and force the Lebanese government to confront Hizbullah and commit to the decisions made, for the sake of all of our futures,” she added.
The foreign minister used the opportunity to address the Israeli nation with words of encouragement: “I want to turn to the families of the captive soldiers, to IDF troops, to families sitting in bomb shelters and those who left their homes – we know why we are fighting."
"I know we are experiencing frustration in the face of the pictures publicized around the world; we feel we aren’t understood sufficiently, but the whole world understands that Israel was attacked and the problem needs to be solved from its foundations," she concluded.
Ceasefire in itself not main goal
At the conclusion of the meeting, the two agreed that a ceasefire with Lebanon in itself was not their main goal. Livni’s office stated that the aim of the meeting was to discuss solutions for after the fighting ends, in the framework of UN resolution 1559.
Rice asked Israel to contribute to solving the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and to evacuating foreign nationals stranded in the war-torn country. Rice and Livni agreed to reconvene Tuesday for further discussions.