Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni discusses Iran’s missile tests, US-Israel relations, and the Middle East peace process
From an interview by Harry Smith on CBS, The Early Show
Test-firing by Iran of new long-range missiles: Iran is not Israel’s problem only. It is a danger to the world, it is a danger to its neighbors, as well. So there is now a common understanding in the international community that Iran must be stopped. Nobody can afford Iran with a nuclear weapon. This kind of extreme Islamic ideology that is trying to deprive others of their rights is something that the world cannot accept.
We are not alone in this battle. There is now an understanding that this is the common denominator, this is a common goal of the international community. It is clear that this is something that the world cannot afford, and we are working together with the international community in order to prevent Iran from having this kind of weapon. Believe me, I met, during these two days in New York, some of Iran’s neighbors, and this is a threat to the Arab and Muslim world, as well. It’s not part of, you know, the Israeli-Arab conflict. This is part of an ideology that cannot live with other regimes in the region.
The United States elections: The relationship between Israel and the United States of America is based on shared values, understanding, friendship, and this is bipartisan. I’ve met the president-elect in Israel and in the United States and I know that we can translate this understanding, this friendship, the common understanding of the nature of the threats into opportunities for the region.
We just put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into peace tracks. So this is something that we can work on together in order to change realities in the region.
Obama’s statement that he is open to talks with Iran: As I said before, I know, and the president-elect said it clearly, that nobody can afford Iran with a nuclear weapon. So we should discuss, and this is part of the understanding between our nations, what are the best steps that can be taken in order to do so. But this is part of the relationship between states, and the relations between Israel and the United States of America are excellent. And they’re going to continue to be the same.
A two-state solution: The idea of two states for two peoples, President Bush’s vision, was adopted by Israel, the Palestinians and the entire Arab world. Now we are working to translate it into an agreement. We – Israel and the Palestinians, all of us – need the support of the Arab world to do the right thing. So the voice of President Shimon Peres (to King Abdullah) was very important yesterday, and we hope that the Saudis, like other Arab states, will not sit on the fence just waiting for something to happen but will support this process, because we are on the right track, but we need the support of the Arab world in doing the right thing, supporting the moderates and fighting extremism, as was said yesterday in the General Assembly.