FM Livni held a series of meetings today with visiting dignitaries from the US and Europe.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni held a series of meetings today with visiting dignitaries.

Governor of Florida, Mr. Charlie Crist

FM Livni expressed her appreciation on the initiation of the legislative process in Florida that prohibits state pension funds from investing in Iran and Sudan. FM Livni stressed that Iran poses a security threat to Israel, the Middle East and to the entire free world, and the increase of economic pressures by the pension funds on Iran is a critical and complementary addition to the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.

The Governor replied that the bill for prevention of trade with Iran has already been passed by both the Florida State Senate and Congress, and it his intention to sign it in the near future.

Governor Crist is visiting Israel together with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida’s 18th Congressional district. Congresswoman Ross-Lehtinen was instrumental in Israel’s admittance to the OECD two weeks ago.

Senator Patrick Leahy

FM Livni also met today with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee On State And Foreign Operations, who is heading a congressional delegation to Israel. Among the delegation members are Senator Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colorado), Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont).

During the meeting, FM Livni stressed that a temporary lull in Gaza means the continued strengthening of the Hamas. "We must not allow the Hamas to exploit the calm in order to rearm. It is essential that we prevent this by closing the smuggling routes south of the Philadelphi Corridor".

Hans-Gert Pottering, President of the European Parliament

FM Livni also met with Mr. Hans-Gert Pottering, President of the European Parliament. At their meeting, she mentioned Mr. Pottering’s remarks in Gaza against the firing of Kassam rockets into Israel and stated that it is the duty of the government of Israel to provide protection and security for its citizens. "Unfortunately, the Palestinians are not doing enough to prevent the rocket firing. Israel would like to assist Mr. Abbas, but he must also help himself. The way to do that is by committing to a full-scale contention with Palestinian terror".