FM Livni: The situation that allows a terror organization to be a member of a government that is perceived as legitimate is intolerable. Hizbullah does not represent the interests of the people of Lebanon.

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni toured northern Israel today (Tuesday 8 July 2008) with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. Their tour encompassed the Har Dov region, which serves as an observation post overlooking Lebanon.

In the Misgav region, FM Livni stated that "I have brought FM Frattini here to allow him to observe the situation here in southern Lebanon. Italy has an important role as a leading force in the Multinational Force.

"I have made it clear that the arming of Hizbullah from the Syrian border with Lebanon must stop. Hizbullah must be disarmed. We now have an opportunity to disarm Hizbullah, and we must not loose it. If we do not do it now, it will be much more difficult later on. UNIFIL is deployed in southern Lebanon, the situation there has changed, but it is the duty of the international community to insist on full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The situation that allows a terror organization to be a member of a government that is perceived as legitimate is intolerable. While claiming to be a government coalition member, Hizbullah had to explain to the Lebanese residents of these villages why they had to pay the price they did, and in the weeks to come, when I hope we will complete the prisoner exchange, they will have to explain it to them again. Hizbullah does not represent the interests of the people of Lebanon."

FM Frattini said: "I hope that now that a new government has been convened in Lebanon, we will be able to speak with it. The implementation of resolution 1701 is the only solution and the best option to resolve the situation in the region."