Livni: ‘Time run­ning out’ for peace process

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News - BY YAAKOV KATZ JERUSALEM

PRIME MIN­IS­TER-DES­IG­NATE and Kadima Party chair­woman Tzipi Livni has given the pub­lic a taste of her diplo­matic vi­sion for Is­rael while warn­ing that time is run­ning out to reach a peace deal with the Pales­tini­ans.

In her first for­eign-pol­icy ad­dress since winning the Kadima pri­mary last month, Ms Livni took Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert to task for a Rosh Hashanah in­ter­view in which he called on Is­rael to cede nearly all of the ter­ri­to­ries won in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“We passed the stage where we have to prove that Is­rael wants peace,” Ms Livni said at the For­eign Min­istry’s Con­fer­ence for Pol­icy and Strat­egy. “Is­rael wants to reach peace with all of its neigh­bours, in­clud­ing Syria, Le­banon and the Pales­tini­ans.”

Through­out the week, Ms Livni had dis­cus­sions with De­fence Min­is­ter Ehud Barak on whether the Labour Party will join the gov­ern­ment she must form by Novem­ber 3 or face elec­tions. Ms Livni is also hold­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with the strictly Or­tho­dox Shas Party.

In veiled crit­i­cism of Mr Olmert, who has been push­ing strongly for a “shelf peace agree­ment” by the end of the year, Ms Livni said that Is­rael needed to run the ne­go­ti­a­tions “re­spon­si­bly”.

“The state of Is­rael dreams of peace but we are in a re­al­ity that is not sim­ple,” she told the au­di­ence that in­cluded Pales­tinian for­eign min­is­ter Riyad al-Malki, for­mer Ger­man for­eign min­is­ter Joschka Fis­cher, US am­bas­sador James Cun­ning­ham and French for­eign min­is­ter Bernard Kouch­ner.

“The diplo­matic pro­cesses need to con­tinue and we need to con­tinue on the cor­rect path,” she said.

Ms Livni said that the dif­fer­ent process in the re­gion — Iran’s race to nu­clear power and Ha­mas and Hizbol­lah’s mil­i­tary buildups in the Gaza Strip and Le­banon — meant that “time is not work­ing in our favour”.

PHOTO: AP

Tzipi Livni em­braces French for­eign min­is­ter Bernard Kouch­ner dur­ing the Jerusalem con­fer­ence this week

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