The two foreign ministers addressed the press prior to their meeting in Jerusalem.

 Statements to the Press by FM Tzipi Livni and Irish FM Dermot Ahern


Photo: Reuters

FM Livni: I would like to welcome to Israel the Irish Foreign Minister, Dermon Ahern. We are, of course, going to speak about the bilateral relationship between Israel as well as the situation in our part of the troubled region. It is important to remember that after UN Resolution 1701, Ireland part of the international forces in Lebanon. I am sure that we will discuss the situation and the steps that we have to take in order to promote peace in the Middle East.

Irish FM Ahern: Thank you for your welcome. I would like to say how delighted I am. This is the second time in just over a year that I have been in the Foreign Ministry and obviously I have come to the Middle East and a critical time.

I will be going to the Lebanon to meet with the Irish troops who are a part of UNIFIL, and today, in Jerusalem, I have been meeting the two families of the kidnapped soldiers to hear their stories. First, I would like to discuss with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni the whole issue of how we can all, as moderates, progress this issue as much as we can.

There have been some very important meetings between President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, and obviously you too, have met with President Abbas recently, and so I would like to get a briefing on that. So, I look forward to our discussions.

Q: The security barrier on Palestinian  land, and the expansion of settlements – is this possibly a real barrier to any lasting peace settlement? Does that not make it almost impossible for the formation of a viable Palestinian  state?

FM Livni: It is important for you to understand that the Israeli government decision on the fence is based on our security needs, in order to give security to Israeli citizens who were being attacked by terrorists on a daily basis. You must also understand that although we believe in a two state solution, we must ensure the safety of Israel’s citizens. For the first time, after considerable discussion, the Israeli government took a decision that in effect meant dividing the land into two.

At the end of the day, the borders of Israel, and, I hope, the future Palestinian state will be part of or the outcome of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Also, as the Minister of Justice, I would like to say that every centimeter of the line of the fence is or can be brought before our Supreme Court for judgment.  I believe in our Supreme Court, and I know that the court takes into consideration the meaning of the fence, in terms of the security on the one hand, and the interests of the  Palestinians.