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Livni: Strive for phased agreement with PA

Foreign minister explains that 'permanent settlement with Palestinians not applicable at this point, but at end of process I would like to see two states for two nations'

While a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians is inapplicable at this point, the alternative is a deal that would be implemented in stages, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated on Sunday. "Regardless of what this process is called, the Road Map or any other process, we must strive for a settlement with the Palestinians," she said.

 

"We can't pick and choose the problems according to the realistic possibility to implement a solution for them. At the end of the process, I would like to see two states for the two nations, based on the principles of the Quartet and the international community," Livni explained.

 

"I don't want to see a terror state alongside Israel. This is one of our demands that is not negotiable," she stressed.

 

On Tuesday, Livni is set to depart for a United States visit during which she will convene with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The purpose of Livni's trip and her scheduled meetings with senior administration officials and congress members, is to reenergize the peace process with the Palestinians. The foreign minister is also expected to deliver a speech in the UN on the issue next week.

 

Livni rejected the allegation that the US trip is a political spin aimed at diverting attention away from the failures of Olmert's government during the recent war in Lebanon.

 

"The Palestinian issue existed before, and those who heard me speak on the matter in the past know that this is where I always stood… Licking the Lebanon wounds does not necessarily serve Israel's interests. We are still faced with the Palestinian problem, and we do not want to remain stagnated, but rather to initiate moves, lead them and set the pace," Livni stated.

 

'Palestinian issue – barrel of explosives' 

The foreign minister also commented on the possibility that Hamas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh be involved in such a diplomatic process. Livni said that their participation would depend on the group's adherence to the three conditions set by the international community and the Quartet – recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and acknowledging past agreement with the Jewish state.

 

However, Livni said, the conflicts within the Palestinian society and government were well-known. "It is our duty to continue to act in a bid to find a way to promote a process with the Palestinians that would serve us, and be founded on the rules and borders that correspond with Israel's interest."

 

According to Livni, "The Road Map was there all along. It's true that we have concentrated on the disengagement and the possibility of the realignment plan in the past, but the basis fro all this is the Road Map. What matters, however, is not how the process is called, but the principles of this process – that are a phased deal with the Palestinians."

 

Referring to the Syrian issue, the foreign minister said that "the current explosive barrel in the Middle East is the Palestinian, not the Syrian, issue. We have learned in the past that the desire to find paths for a resolution with the Syrians have only caused much frustration here and on the Palestinian side."

 

"Today, the international community believes that Syria needs to work hard in order to be accepted as a legitimate member. I believe that we now have to focus our attention on the more relevant issues, meaning the Road Map peace plan with the Palestinian Authority," she concluded.

 


פרסום ראשון: 09.11.06, 00:09
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