NEW YORK – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met Wednesday night with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and expressed Israel's protest over the ongoing arms smuggling from Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon and the continued firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Jewish state.
Livni, who is taking part in an Interfaith Dialogue at the UN headquarters, demanded that the Security Council respond to the violation of its resolution stating that Hizbullah must be disarmed and that the weapon smuggling must be halted.
"The ongoing arms smuggling constitutes a blatant violation of the Security Council resolutions. Syria, which wants to receive legitimization from the world, must be faced with a clear statement from the Council, making it responsible for the continued smuggling," Livni told Ban.
She warned that "the arms smuggling endangers the entire region. The ongoing smuggling contradicts Syria's commitments to the Security Council. Halting the weapon smuggling will not be doing a favor to Israel."
The UN chief, who expressed his concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza during his meeting with President Shimon Peres, reiterated his concern in this meeting with the foreign minister. Livni, however, said the Palestinian side was fully responsible for the situation.
"If we're asking who is responsible for the situation in Gaza, there is only one address – Hamas. Hamas is responsible for what is happening in Gaza, terror from Gaza continues, and we must not take any action which will even seemingly legitimize Hamas' regime or activity," she said.
Rare meeting with Omani FM
Livni also informed Ban chief that Israel would be boycotting the Durban conference. "Israel will boycott any conference serving as a stage for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activity. The UN must not host such activities again," the foreign minister said, urging the UN chief to make a clear and moral statement on this issue as soon as possible.
Earlier Wednesday, Livni met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and with her Omani counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.
The Israeli and Omani foreign ministers discussed regional issues, including the peace process with the Palestinians, and Livni stressed the importance of the Arab world's support for the process. This was a rare meeting, as Israel and Oman have no official diplomatic relations. The two already met in Qatar about half a year ago.
Livni and Peres are expected to attend the UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday and listen to the address of US President George W. Bush.