FM Livni met with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Subjects discussed included the meeting of Arab foreign ministers, smuggling from Egypt into Gaza and the Iranian issue.

 FM Livni meets with US Defense Secretary Gates


FM Livni meets with Secretary Gates   (Photo: AP)

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met this morning (Thursday, April 19) in Tel Aviv with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is currently on an official visit to Israel.

After the meeting, the following statement was issued:

Regarding the meeting last night of the Arab foreign ministers:

"The Palestinian issue can and should be promoted along the bilateral track. The Arab League can support the process by demonstrating flexibility, which will help the Palestinians, and by reinforcing positive Israeli measures."

"The Arab states with whom we do not have relations could have been partners in this process from the very first step, but instead they stipulated conditions. Israel, of course, is open to any dialogue."

"There are security issues that are important to Israel, and it must be ascertained that a future Palestinian state does not turn into a terrorist lair."

On the issue of smuggling from Egypt into Gaza:

"It is important to deal with the issue of smuggling of armaments from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Apart from the fact that it is causing a ‘Lebanonization’ of the Gaza Strip, it casts a shadow on the possibility of any future compromise on other issues."

On the Iranian issue:

"The free world is currently being tested by the countries that are threatened by Iran. These are predominantly Iran’s Arab and Moslem neighbors. Vacillation is perceived as weakness, which may create a desire to appease Iran. Only the determination of the international community will keep the ‘moderate camp’ on the same side."

"We live in a neighborhood in which a projected image is very meaningful. If the impression is that the world is loosing to the ‘neighborhood bully’, the will want to join him."