FM Livni welcomed the members of this first delegation and noted the importance Israel ascribes to Indonesia as the largest Muslim state in the world.

 FM Livni meets with visiting Indonesian journalists


Photo: Israel Hadari

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni met Thursday evening (18 October) with a delegation of journalists from Indonesia who are visiting Israel. This is the first delegation of this type, including representatives of all of the leading print and electronic media of Indonesia.

The Foreign Minister welcomed the members of the delegation and noted the importance Israel ascribes to Indonesia as the largest Muslim state in the world. Minister Livni stressed that Israel has no quarrel with the Muslim world and is ready to establish relations with any state that wishes to do so. She expressed the hope that ways will be found to advance the bilateral relations between the two states (Israel and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations).

Minister Livni added that, considering Indonesia’s standing in the Arab and Muslim world, and as a state that is forced to confront extreme Islamic terrorism, Indonesia’s opposition to terrorism of any kind – including Hizbullah and Hamas – is very significant.

In an interview to the Indonesian media, Minister Livni said, "Your visit in Israel is especially important in light of the fact that Israel and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations. There is a big discrepancy between Israel’s image in the world, especially the Muslim world, and the reality of Israel. I believe there is a genuine need to hold informal meetings such as this one in order to get to know Israel and Israeli society.

"Lately, people are starting to understand that the real division in the region is not between Israel and the Muslim states – it is between the moderates and the extremists. Religion has been misused in recent years for disseminating hatred, destruction and terror. The regime in Iran is a good example, as it attempts to undermine other regimes in the region and supports terrorist organizations such as Hamas in the Palestinian Authority and Hizbullah in Lebanon.

I believe that we share the same values as well as common interests. I hope we can promote a dialogue based on this understanding, not only on a political level. In the sixty years since the founding of the State of Israel, it has undergone enormous changes and has become an advanced state that serves as an international model in agriculture, high-tech, education and economics. There is definitely a basis for dialogue between our peoples."

Concerning the diplomatic process, Minister Livni said, "The role of the Arab and Muslim world in the diplomatic process is critical. The support of the Arab states as well as the Muslim states for the process and the resulting agreements will make their implementation possible.

"We expect the Arab and Muslim world leadership to support the bilateral process taking place between Israel and the pragmatists of the Palestinian Authority and to support its results, instead of setting pre-conditions or dictating the outcome in advance.

"It is very important to promote gradual normalization between Israel and the Muslim states during the process. These steps should be taken because we share common interests. When Israel promotes dialogue and takes positive steps vis-à-vis the Palestinians, this is the time for the Muslim world to take positive steps vis-à-vis Israel. We should start now and not wait for the end of the process."