Livni: International pressure on Hamas bearing fruit
At start of two-day visit to Paris, foreign minister tells reporters she detects 'signs of change' in attitude of Hamas-led Palestinian leadership thanks to pressure from foreign powers. She also urges international community to remain 'firm' in order to 'reinforce' Abbas
"Almost a year after the arrival of Hamas, we are starting to see signs of change, attributable in part to pressure from the international community," Livni told reporters at the start of a two-day visit to Paris.
Livni urged the international community to remain "firm" in order to "reinforce" Mahmud Abbas, the moderate president of the Palestinian Authority.
International aid to the Palestinians was partly suspended following the victory of the Islamist movement Hamas in legislative elections in January, plunging the Palestinian territories into deep crisis.
Livni and Sarkozy. 'Moderates must be reinforced' (Photo: Gium Biro)
The so-called Middle East quartet – United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union – has set three conditions for the resumption of aid: For Hamas to recognize the State of Israel and past Israeli-Palestinian accords, and to renounce violence.
'Offer moderates a political horizon'
Seeking to end political deadlock after power-sharing talks with the ruling Hamas movement collapsed, Abbas is expected to ask Palestinians to vote in a referendum on holding early parliamentary and presidential elections.
Livni stressed the "importance of offering moderate Palestinians a political horizon."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week that Israel was prepared to withdraw from considerable Palestinian territory in exchange for peace, in order to "create an independent and viable Palestinian state."
On Wednesday, the foreign minister was due to meet French President Jacques Chirac and Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy.
She also met late Tuesday with French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the leading right-wing candidate for the 2007 French presidential race, days after meeting his Socialist rival Segolene Royal during a visit to Jerusalem.