We want to reach an agreement at the end of which we can find the words “end of conflict”. Doing so takes time.

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni meets with the Foreign Press Association in Israel

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: I would like to share with you some assessments about the region, and then we can share ideas on translating an understanding of the situation into an Israeli policy, or maybe even an international policy, towards the region.

Now, the division between the moderates and the extremists in the region affects different places and different states and of course, the Israeli government’s policy. Over the last few months, we see the extremists getting stronger by getting more weapons, which is one way. The other way is through politics, in different parts of this region.

We can see Iran, a state that represents this kind of extreme Islamic ideology, progressing in its aspiration to obtain nuclear weapons and trying to gain more time in its discussion with the international community. But in the meantime it has not stopped its [uranium] enrichment, and we see all the other pragmatic states in the region, Iran’s neighbors, looking at the international community. Since we live in a world where perceptions matter, I think they are trying to see whether the international community is determined enough to stop Iran, or else they can join it in the future. And this is something we should also be aware of, in the future.

The next understanding is that the time is of the essence, since the crucial day is not the day of the bomb or when they master the technology. It is just as important what we, the international community, are doing right now, in order to stop Iran. Sanctions are effective but the current sanctions are not effective enough.

Hizbullah, the long arm of Iran in Lebanon, is getting stronger. We see that the arms embargo according to Resolution 1701 is not being enforced by the Lebanese government. It is being violated by Syria and Iran so the situation in the south part of Lebanon has changed, yet Hizbullah is getting weapons. The latest understandings and the arrangement between the Lebanese government and Hizbullah also led to a situation in which the division of two years ago, when we saw a legitimate pragmatic government in Lebanon, unlike the Hizbullah terrorist organization of now, has become a kind of a mixed government, in which Hizbullah is more effective and getting stronger, and I believe this is also gong to affect Israeli government policy towards Lebanon.

At the beginning of the war in Lebanon, Israel was attacked by Hizbullah from Lebanon. Since then it was important for the international community, and Israel as well, not to undermine the Lebanese government, we worked militarily against Hizbullah in the south and other parts of Lebanon. But it was directed against Hizbullah.

Now, we can see a situation – and we did not ask for state responsibility from the Lebanese government – of a kind of combination between the Lebanese government and Hizbullah; now they are part of it, and getting stronger. I believe now is the time that the international community and Israel should demand from the Lebanese government, something which is natural in other parts of the world: state responsibility for the situation in Lebanon.

As to Syria: I just spoke about the arms embargo, which Syria violates by smuggling – not just smuggling, but transferring – weapons to Hizbullah on one hand and getting legitimacy from the international community on the other hand, through the negotiations with Israel. We can maybe see the beginning of change when it comes to the relationship between Syria and Lebanon. For Syria, it is a matter not of extreme ideology but of self-interest. And, according to this self-interest or how Syria translates this self-interest, they are strengthening these terrorist organizations, including Hizbullah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and others, who have headquarters in Damascus.

The Palestinian Authority: There is also a division between extremists and moderates within the Palestinian Authority and of course, it exists in Palestinian society as well, but not only because it has a territorial dimension. The Gaza Strip is being controlled by Hamas, which represents this kind of extreme Islamic ideology; Hamas does not represent the national Palestinian movement or the Palestinians’ aspirations for a state of their own. It represents this extreme ideology and it is being supported by Iran by using the Philadelphia corridor and smuggling weapons through Egypt to the Gaza Strip.

On the other side are other parts, not only of Palestinian society, but of the Palestinian Authority – we have Abu Mazen, Abu Ala, Salam Fayyad, who are representatives of the Palestinian national movement as a legitimate government. In the last two years, or since Hamas won the elections, the Israeli government policy and the international community policy towards the situation in the Palestinian Authority works according to a dual strategy. On one hand, we decided in Annapolis to launch negotiations with the pragmatic leaders in the Palestinian Authority and on the other hand, simultaneously, we decided with the international community, according to the quartet principles, to delegitimize Hamas as long as they do not accept the right of Israel to exist, continue with the terrorism and violence, and cannot and are unwilling to accept formal agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

Now, it is crucial to understand that negotiating with the pragmatic side on the Palestinian Authority represents the interests of both peoples – Israel and the Palestinians, and it clearly represents the interest of the State of Israel. I will relate to this later. I imagine that we will have some questions on this. But it is no less important to understand that just negotiating with the pragmatic leaders is not enough. We need to continue to delegitimize Hamas, to keep the pressure on Hamas. We need, at the end of the day, and the end of the negotiations process, to give the Palestinians the choice between those who bring them hope of a state, and, on the other hand, those who lead or led the situation in the Gaza Strip to a situation which is difficult for them, and which in a way became not only a problem for Israel, but also an obstacle on the Palestinians’ road to creating a state.

Clearly, the idea of the peace process is to translate the vision of two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security. This means that nobody, but nobody, in the region can afford a terror state, a failed state, or an extreme Islamic state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The situation in the Gaza Strip is something that cannot be solved just through negotiating with the pragmatic leaders and this is an answer that should be given by the Palestinians themselves. 

But Israel also needs to take into consideration that our entering negotiations does not change the fact that the Gaza Strip being controlled by Hamas, the ongoing buildup of Hamas forces as a small army in the Gaza Strip, and the smuggling of weapons which continues despite the truce between Israel and Hamas. This is something we cannot turn a blind eye to while negotiating.

About the negotiations: In Annapolis, we launched negotiations based upon several principles. It was accepted by the international community that it is important for the negotiations to be bilateral between Israel and the Palestinians. At the end of the day, our decisions have to be made by our leaders and people; and we need this time and this opportunity to try to solve the core issues and reach an end to the conflict through the negotiations.

Basically – and this is part of the understanding between the Israelis and the Palestinians – any agreement is subject to the Roadmap. By the way, it took some time before Annapolis to reach this understanding, but I would like to share reasons for it with you.

Before Annapolis, the only plan that was adapted by the international community, by Israel and by the Palestinians was the Roadmap. According to the Roadmap, the idea was to change realities on the ground, not only before we create a Palestinian state, but before we enter negotiations. The reason was that the path towards the Palestinian state goes through the renunciation of violence and the dismantlement of the terrorist organizations, and these were the facts of the Roadmap.

So, we could have waited until the Roadmap had been implemented – doing nothing and waiting for the Palestinians to take responsibility and change realities on the ground, regarding terror. We decided that because time is of the essence – since time works against the moderates and stagnation is not an option for the Israeli government – we should do something else. Namely, we kept the Roadmap as the basic idea including its phases, but we decided to launch negotiations because, as we understand it, it is important and in Israel’s best interest to reach an understanding with the pragmatic leaders among the Palestinians. They are the only ones with whom we believe there is a chance to reach an agreement, while Hamas represents, as I said before, extreme ideology. So Hamas cannot be our partners – not because I want to punish them for using terror, but because there is no basic understanding on the goals and the possible outcome of any agreement. And with the pragmatic leaders, we decided that the outcome should be two states living side by side in peace and security.

We also agreed to make all possible efforts to reach an agreement by the end of the year. This is something that I want to relate to, before I am asked about it, since I know there are some expectations. Looking at the political situation in the USA, the international community and other parts of the world, and Israel, there is a kind of expectation to do something before the end of the year.

Since our responsibility is to reach an agreement and act in a responsible way, I believe that the time line is important, but more important are the content and the nature of the understanding that we can reach with the Palestinians. And, since I believe that we need to learn from past experience in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, any attempt  to try and bridge gaps that may be premature to bridge, or to reach something which is not the specific agreement that we want to reach, can lead to doing it wrong just because of international pressure. This can lead to clashes, misunderstandings and violence, such as we faced after Camp David 2000; and the circumstances are similar in a way. So, we need to learn from this.

I am speaking here not only for the Israeli government policy and understanding but also the Palestinians. So, I think that when the Israelis and Palestinians can agree on something, the international community should respect it.

Regarding the nature of the agreement – from the beginning we asked ourselves: What is success? What is the nature of the agreement that we would like to reach? We decided that the best thing is to have a comprehensive agreement and address the core issues, and not only to have an agreement that is concrete enough to give an answer to the concerns of both sides. On certain issues the Israeli interest is to make a concrete arrangement in some parts or on some issues, and there are issues that it is in the Palestinian interest to give a concrete answer to.

We decided that borders should not just be vague ideas, or something that relates to 1967 plus or minus a percentage. We need to draw the borders on the map, because we want fewer misunderstandings between Israel and the Palestinians the day after the agreement. Part of our past experience is that when we reach vague understandings that do not meet the different interests of both sides, this leads to frustration, violence and misunderstandings.

So we have a list for each and every issue, we know the criteria needed for each side. On the borders it is mutual. Security-wise, it is crucial for Israel to know what will be on the other side of the border; we cannot just throw the keys to the other side of the border for good. We need to know that the future Palestinian state is demilitarized; we need to know their arrangements on the passages. We have differences; we have a list of things for which we need to give answers in an agreement with the Palestinians.

We also decided that until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed. This is the first principle that was agreed upon between Israel and the Palestinians. Because at the end of the day, the idea is to reach a package that gives an answer to Israel and the Palestinians. And there are tradeoffs between different issues and also between different parts of the same issue.

Since the meaning of any agreement is compromise by both sides, one way or the other way, we want to continue the negotiations with the understanding that if we give something in a certain meeting it does not mean that we cannot ask for something else in the next meeting. So we do it simultaneously; we talk about borders, then the next meeting is on security, the next one is on refugees, and so on.

Not only that, we also have committees on water and security and state-to-state relations, as well as the roads or the parameters to the creation of a Palestinian state – what is needed in order to do so – and the culture of peace, the economy and the infrastructure. All of these things are not part of the core issues, as we all know, but since there was no Palestinian state 40 years ago and this is a new creation. For 40 years we have had the same infrastructure – we are talking about water, we are talking about all of these issues, since we need to change realities on the ground. And this takes time, so we can give answers to all of these issues and then we can reach this agreement which is subject to full implementation of the Roadmap.

The last understanding between Israel and the Palestinians, and this is one that you are not going to like, is that we are not going to share with the press anything that is part of the negotiations, and it works. It has worked for us so far; there have been no leaks from the negotiations. It is not that Israel and the Palestinians decided that the press is the enemy, but it is very important – this also stems from past experience – since everything is so sensitive, since there are some expectations, and since there are extremists, especially in the Arab world and within the Palestinian Authority who are trying to stop these negotiations. We decided that it is going to be bilateral – it is for us to decide about the future. We respect, trust and understand that this is necessary in order to continue the dialogue, and it works.

Q: Referring to the agreement and the negotiations, it has been said that the best one can hope for, at the moment, is a shelf agreement and that it actually could not ever be implemented as long as Hamas is in power in Gaza. Do you agree with that; do you think that this is something that is more theoretical now, until the day that Hamas can be removed?

Q: Despite the security issue I wonder whether you can share with us something about the proposal that was supposedly presented to the Palestinian Authority regarding the percentage of the West Bank that would be the territory of the Palestinian State. And also if you can refer to the issue about which we have been hearing a lot lately, despite the fact that Saeb Erekat said that we do want a two-state solution, about a big national state.

Q: There was a report today on the radio that President Assad in Moscow proposed to deploy Soviet long-range missiles on his territory as a counter to the Israeli cooperation with Georgia. Can you address this issue, and what is the scope of the Israeli activity in Georgia?

Q: Actually this is a follow-up to that question. In view of the events in Georgia, do you regret the Israeli involvement in military assistance and training of the Georgian army, taking into consideration the possibility that it opens the way for Russia to legitimize the selling of weapons to Syria and other countries in the Middle East?

FM Livni: On the Georgia, Russia, Syria question, in French I would say, "Non, je ne regrette rien" – I don’t regret anything.

The idea in Israeli relations with Georgia worked according to an understanding of what is legitimate and what is not. According to this, our Defense Ministry carefully checks every question of weapons export. The decisions were made specifically according to each and every request. We took into consideration what was legitimate and what was not, and we approved only those that, in our understanding, were legitimate and part of the ongoing relationship between Israel and Georgia, while also understanding the sensitivity for Russia.

But I would like to say something about the region’s missiles – Syria, Russia and others. I think that the connection between sending some [Israeli] weapons to Georgia, and then taking revenge by giving some weapons or long-range missiles to Syria, is wrong. Russia has its own interests in the region and nobody wants to destabilize the region. I think that according to these assessments it is in the common interest of Russia, Israel, and the pragmatic leaders and states in the region, not to send this kind of long-range missiles to Syria.

We also need to understand that, when it comes to Syria, I just raised the issue of smuggling and transferring weapons from Syria to Lebanon in order to destabilize the situation also in Lebanon. We know what the connections are between Iran and Syria. We know the connections between Syria and Lebanon and Hizbullah and Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. So, nobody can afford it – it is not only an Israeli problem and I believe that the Russians should act in a manner that represents their own interests, and these are the interests of the international community.

I would like to say a few words about the shelf agreements, and something about the two-state solution. The idea of what is called the shelf agreement is not just to negotiate and have the kind of talks that are not concrete or are talks between leaders regardless of the situation on the ground. This is not the idea at all. The idea was to take a time, in which the situation on the ground is difficult and makes the creation of a Palestinian state impossible right now, to take this period in time and to try and reach an understanding on all of the issues since we know that it is not an easy thing to do.

In order to have an agreement that is concrete enough, one that answers the interests of both sides, one that can be implemented the day after – this means that we are not just talking about principles, vague ideas, or something that can relate only to some issues and not to the entire issue. We want to reach an agreement at the end of which we can find the words “end of conflict”. Doing so takes time. We need to do it, though time is of the essence and time works for the extremists, as we see it.

We also see the trends within the Palestinian Authority and, since there is no hope with Hamas, we would like reach this understanding with the PA. We believe that this agreement can and should represent the interests of Israel and the interests of the Palestinians. The question of how long it is going to be on the shelf relates not to our willingness, but to the situation on the ground.

Now, my belief is that the sooner the agreement can be implemented the better. Because there is also an understanding that when we reach something and it is not implemented this can also lead to frustration, maybe to some pressure, maybe to some demands, to some new demands by others. So we would like to have the shortest time possible to implement an agreement. But we cannot afford not to see the situation on the ground, and the impact of the situation on the ground on the possibility of implementing the agreement.

Q: Can it be implemented just in the West Bank?

FM Livni: I am going to answer that – the Gaza Strip, Hamas and the others. So, this is the idea and the reason for us to negotiate with the pragmatic leaders, even though they do not have control in the Gaza Strip, which is completely controlled by Hamas. Even in the West Bank, they are not strong enough, but our only chance to reach an agreement is with these pragmatic leaders.

Now, I will say something about the implementation. The idea of the Palestinian state includes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. So, the international understanding is that the creation of the state should help, or be a part of, a peace agreement and peace in the region. Hamas does not represent any kind of ideas related to peace and stability; they represent extreme ideology. Nobody, but nobody, can afford a terror state. It is not going to stabilize the region or to reach a peace that can also be adopted by the entire Arab world. It could lead to more clashes between states – maybe between Israel and the future Palestinian state – and this is something we cannot afford. The idea is not to create a terror state that the international community cannot afford. We cannot afford a failed state. I spoke at the beginning of this meeting about the situation in Lebanon. At the beginning of the war in Lebanon, there was a weak government, a terrorist organization and a militia, without any kind of effective control by the weak government over these organizations.

If Israel had launched a war against Lebanon as a state, the war could have been over in a few days, but we decided to act against the terrorist organization, and the war against terrorism is completely different from a war against a state. So, part of the idea is to have an effective government. I was talking about Lebanon, but this example is true also for the Palestinian state. We want, before the creation of a state, an effective government, one that fights terrorism and can enforce law and order within the Palestinian Authority for our sake, but for their sake as well.

And we need to see a government that respects, adapts and accepts the requirements of the international community – one that fulfills the requirements of the Quartet, accepts Israel’s right to exist, the cessation of violence and terror, and of course accepts all of the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamas is not part of it. So, Hamas is a problem for the Palestinians even more than it is a problem for Israel.

Now, nobody wants Hamas to succeed and any kind of direct or indirect legitimization of Hamas can lead to a situation in which the pragmatic leaders are weaker and weaker, and the Arab world has more ties with and gives legitimacy to Hamas, even though, from the beginning, they have understood the danger with Hamas, because they face these kind of radical elements within their own states. And this is agreed – this idea of what is a legitimate and effective government in the Palestinian Authority.

Now, when you asked me the question, I wanted to say that in a way it is the Palestinians’ choice, whether they want a state which includes the Gaza Strip or not. According to my understanding, the aspiration of the Palestinian state is for the Palestinians to have one state which includes the Gaza Strip. More than that – were I to suggest that it not include the Gaza Strip, I think I would be blamed by the Palestinians for doing something against the Palestinian interest. We can just remind ourselves what happened when Israel decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip according to the disengagement plan, and Israel was blamed for a kind of conspiracy theory that we just want to make the Gaza Strip the Palestinian state without the West Bank. Now, in a way, we could be blamed for changing the position and having only the West Bank as the Palestinian state, without the Gaza Strip.

Believe me, we have no hidden agenda. We are working according to an understanding that the future Palestinian state includes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This is the Palestinian aspiration; this is how we are working. And, in order to create a state, we need an answer to the situation on the ground. This is not only in the Israeli interest; this is in their own interests. By the way, speaking of Palestinian society, I do not think that those who represent pragmatic ideas want their children to be educated according to these kinds of hatred agendas. These issued need to be addressed on the ground, and not doing so can lead to a situation worse than that which exists today.

Now, about the idea of a two-state solution, and I would like to thank you for asking this question. All of us are using the words two-state solution as two states for two people, two national states. This is the basic understanding for any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. It looks obvious but it is not obvious for some leaders in the Arab world, or within Palestinian society.

When we talk about two states for two peoples, it means that Israel is the homeland for the Jewish people and the Palestinian state is the homeland for the Palestinians. Just as Israel gave refuge to Jews who needed to leave – not only Europe after the Holocaust but also Arab states after the creation of the State of Israel – and absorbed them here, since the creation of Israel was as a homeland for the Jewish people and this is the mission statement of the State of Israel, so the creation of the Palestinian state is the answer for the Palestinians, for those who live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and those in refugee camps, waiting for what the Palestinians call the right of return, or the claim of return, which is not an option according to the idea or vision of two states for two peoples. The creation of the Palestinian state is for the entire Palestinian people.

This should be the understanding of the international community – it is part of President Bush’s letter to Israel before the disengagement plan, in which it was stated that the creation or the answer to the Palestinian refugee problem is through the creation or the establishment of a Palestinian state.

But, unfortunately, you can see some of the Palestinian and Arab leaders saying something about two states, but demanding what they call the right of return of refugees to Israel, which is the Jewish state. This goes against the concept. And this is the basic understanding, the basic pillar, of any agreement. It is not a theoretical question, and without this understanding there is no agreement. This is the basic understanding for the Israelis, this is the basic understanding for the Palestinians, and this is one of the two basic pillars, the other of course being Israel’s security.

Since the state is the answer to the Palestinians’ legitimate national aspirations, this is the only answer to their aspirations, and the Israelis’ willingness or understanding that we need to accept and adopt this vision is in the Israeli interest to keep Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people and a democratic state.

Since we need to keep these values of Israel as a democracy and a Jewish state, living together and not in contradiction, we decided that the best thing to do is to have another state that represents the aspiration of the others – not within Israel but as part of a different state. The idea is not easy for Israelis because the idea of dividing the land was something that it took some time for us to understand as choosing between options (and in the Middle East, the choice is always between bad options). But doing so and the idea of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and as a democracy is more important than some parts of what we call the land of Israel and what they call Palestine.

So, any idea not according to that vision goes against the concept. Israel, as I said, does not have a hidden agenda, I think that some of the Palestinians understood that maybe the threat to Israel is not a Palestinian state anymore, but one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and they use it, you know, to push or to get something out of the negotiations these days.

There are no leaks from the negotiations room and I am not going to relate to anything that was published in Hebrew or English or Arabic in any newspaper.

Q: Can you comment about any talks between Jordan and Hamas? And what issues do you plan to bring up next week with Condoleezza Rice?

Q: You said the two-state solution is in Israel’s self-interest. Ehud Olmert, I think it was the day after Annapolis, put it in rather more stark terms and said that if the two-state solution collapses, and there is a South African style struggle for equal voting rights, then the State of Israel will be finished.

FM Livni: No.

Q: You do not share that opinion?

FM Livni: The State of Israel is not going to be finished.

Q: You have been talking a lot to the Palestinians this year, has this personal experience of talking to them changed your own view on the Israeli Palestinian conflict?
 
Q: When you talk about the Palestinian state, do you mean an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital?

Q: When you talk about the international community needing to do more about Iran, Secretary Rice talks about it, and I know you do not like to name names because you are diplomatic, but mostly we are talking about at least a key player in that equation being Russia. Are you worried, now that the US-Russia tensions are at an all-time high probably since the Cold War, that some of the rhetorical lines are being redrawn? Are you worried about the impact of that on Iranian diplomacy? And how Israel does work around that issue in this environment and in what is already a difficult diplomatic environment with Iran to begin with?

FM Livni: Since the creation of the State of Israel, for 60 years, Israel has been struggling for its existence and we would like to live in peace with our neighbors, but unfortunately, it is not about our decision whether to live in peace with our neighbors or not, but also reaching an understanding with them about what is the nature of peace and how we can reach it.

But I do believe in the State of Israel. As an Israeli leader, I would say that clearly, to the Israelis and to those outside of Israel, including those who maybe are waiting, unfortunately, to wipe Israel off the map. Israel is here. Israel is going to exist and we are going to solve our problems including security problems and including the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. And this is something that needs to be understood also in Israel by the Israeli public.

But talking about security, security is not only a question of whether there is a specific kind of military operation to do this and that. The Israeli prime minister needs to understand the trends and the situation in the region, because the threats are not only threats of missiles and terror and so on. The threats come from different changes; now there are threats that we can understand and we need to have the best assessments of the threats and the future threats to Israel in order make the necessary preparations, not only military preparations for any kind of future war or terror attacks, but also preparations by the entire government.

That is one thing. The other is that there are different options, and I do think that there is a better understanding in Israel that when facing these kind of threats the leaders or the prime minister needs to put on the table Israel’s strategic goal as a state and the means to achieve this goal and whether the means are military force or diplomacy. We have to choose between the options, and then hear from experts from the strong Israeli army. Like the Prime Minister, part of my role is going to be asking them for their advice on the best military option to answer some of the means after choosing between the options. But the point is not understanding the different parts of the army or the forces or the specific targets. The role of a leader, the way I see it; especially in Israel, is understanding the nature of the threats that we are all facing.

During the discussions I gained a better understanding about where the Palestinians stand on some issues and the sensitivities on the Palestinian side. There were some things that I thought obvious, but during the discussions discovered that the Palestinians are very suspicious when it comes to Israel. When I said clearly that the two-state solution is Israel’s vision, aspiration and policy, I think some of the Palestinians were skeptical, and I hope that they aren’t any more, but at the beginning of the process, they were suspicious of whether this is really the Israeli goal. I know that they are now less suspicious, but during these negotiations, I found out some more. I am more aware of some of the issues and I know that they are there, but now it is more concrete. Because it is not just our talking about all of these issues, but trying to translate them into drafts and an agreement and we have started drafting some parts of the agreements.

So, yes, I am more aware and I have more information in a way, and we have shared more about both sides’ concerns, and I hope that they know more about the Israeli concerns right now as well.

And as I said before, about other issues, I am not going to relate to Jerusalem either. In Annapolis, we decided that everything is on the table, and as I said before, we decided not to share anything relating to the content of the agreement with the international community or the press.

About Russia and Iran, it is true that there is an understanding by the international leaders and I have spoken with most of them, including Putin and Lavrov, and everybody says that the world cannot afford to have Iran with nuclear weapons. This is an understanding; it is not as if we differ on whether the world can afford or cannot afford this. But there is a gap between this understanding and translating it, especially when it comes to United Nations Security Council resolutions.

It is important to have a consensus on each and every Security Council resolution because the message is that the entire world wants Iran to stop and the sanctions are according to international community policy and it is not just something led by the United States or the interests of Israel, or some parts of Europe, but something that the international community believes in and is willing to pay a political and an economic price to do so.

Unfortunately, the need for a consensus led to some compromises on the nature of the sanctions; some sanctions were left off the list because of the different interests of different states during the negotiations in the Security Council. This is why more sanctions are needed. They are not effective enough and we can add some more especially when it comes to energy. I do believe – and I said something about missiles to Syria and others – it is in the world’s interest to stop Iran. It is in not only the Israeli interest, American interest, British interest or others’ interest.

The world cannot afford a nuclear Iran. And Iran with nuclear weapons is part of a process that is underway. Time is of the essence. Since I believe that Russia has the best understanding of the situation, of its own interest, I do hope that Russia and other states join not only the understanding of the need to stop Iran, but join more effective sanctions in order to do so.