David Miliband
Photo: AFP
Photo: Tal Shahar
Tzipi Livni
Photo: Tal Shahar

Jerusalem demands London plug legislative loophole

Israel wants UK to change legal situation which afforded arrest warrant against former FM Tzipi Livni. British Foreign Secretary Miliband promises 'government is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed'

Will Israeli officials be able to walk the streets of London without fear of arrest? Jerusalem remains skeptical.


Earlier Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband expressed his dismay over a London court's decision to issue an arrest warrant against Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, but a senior Foreign Ministry source told Ynet that the British minister has so far faltered on his promise to rectify the legal loophole which allows such action to be taken.


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According to the source, Jerusalem was told that until a new British parliament is elected in May, changing existing legislation is problematic.


"We made it clear that the fact that a judge in the most remote court in Britain can just issue an arrest warrant against Israeli officials is utterly unacceptable," said the Jerusalem source.


Miliband spoke with both Livni and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and said he and British Ministry of Public Security officials were "shocked" to learn of the warrant.


Relaying a message via the British Embassy in Israel, Miliband stresses the London sees Jerusalem as "a strategic partner and a close friend of the UK. We are determined to protect and develop these ties. Israeli leaders – like leaders from other countries - must be able to visit and have a proper dialogue with the British Government.


"The procedure by which arrest warrants can be sought and issued without any prior knowledge or advice by a prosecutor is an unusual feature of the system in England and Wales. The Government is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed in order to avoid this sort of situation arising again," he said.


Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon told Ynet that unless the UK acts immediately, even if the problem cannot be resolved in parliament as yet, "I'm afraid senior Israeli officials will have no choice but to avoid visiting London, even for the sake of promoting strategic moves for peace."


Foreign Ministry sources said that there were no plans to call London Ambassador Ron Prosor back to Jerusalem at this time.


פרסום ראשון: 12.16.09, 00:00
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