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Secretary Rice With Israeli FM Livni in Jerusalem

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice With Israeli Foreign Minister Livni in Jerusalem

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Jerusalem, Israel
July 24, 2006


FOREIGN MINISTER LIVINI: Allow me to welcome -- to warmly welcome Secretary Rice to Israel. This is a very important visit at the most difficult time. The free world is facing threats that seek to undermine our values and our stability. The goals of Hezbollah are to set the region in flame and to dictate the Israeli-Palestinian agenda. We cannot and we will not let them succeed.

The international community, the free world, led by the United States, has a common understanding not only of the threats but also of the ways to resolve the situation in Lebanon. It was established in Security Council Resolution 1559 and in the recent G-8 summit. The abducted soldiers must be released. Hezbollah must be disarmed and the Lebanese Government sovereignty must be exercised all over Lebanon, the Lebanese territory. I want to be clear, there is no conflict between Israel and between the people of Lebanon. But Israel has no higher responsibility than to defend its citizens.

This is now, I believe, a moment of truth not only to Israel or to the Lebanese Government, but also to the international community. There's a need for the international community to implement its decision and to assist the Lebanese Government and confront the Hezbollah and implement the international community's decision for the benefit and for the future for us all -- of us all. And with your permission, can I say a few words in Hebrew.

SECRETARY RICE: Of course.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIVINI: (Speaking in Hebrew)

SECRETARY RICE: I think they'd like to know what you said, but we'll get the translation for them.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: (Inaudible) mainly to say that –

SECRETARY RICE: I know, I understand.

Let me first of all thank you very much for welcoming me here. We will have a discussion tonight of the difficult circumstances, the difficult conditions here in the Middle East. This is a difficult time for, of course, the Israeli people who face daily threats. It is a difficult time for the people of Lebanon. And it's a difficult time for the Palestinian people.

If we have learned anything, it is that any peace is going to have to be based on enduring principles and not on temporary solutions. We will talk about how to get to an enduring cessation of violence, how to deal with the significant humanitarian problems that are currently facing the people of Lebanon. I think that everyone wants to see innocent civilians in better circumstances than they are currently, and we will talk about that.

But let me just say that the international community does indeed have a way forward. We stated this in the G-8 statement. It is there in Resolution 1559. Ultimately, a Middle East that is peaceful and democratic will be a Middle East in which peace is sustainable. And so thank you very much for having me here. We will discuss specific matters tonight. We have a program tomorrow.

I want to add one point which is that the people of America, President Bush and all of the people of America, of course, our prayers are with Prime Minister Sharon and with his family. We know that there has been a deterioration in his circumstances, but we pray for his full recovery.

Thank you.

2006/T19-2

Released on July 24, 2006

ENDS

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