Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni left for New York yesterday where she will meet with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and will discuss with him the quick assembling of the international force to be deployed in southern Lebanon.
Livni will ask Annan for guarantees that the force will assist the Lebanese National Army in dismantling Hizballah from its weapons. There is fear in Israel that after Nasrallah’s statements that the Hizballah will not disarm, the international force will not forcefully engage Hizballah units on the ground. In addition, Israel fears that any indecisiveness on behalf of the international force will bring to the return of Hizballah to its old positions in southern Lebanon from which they were driven out by the Israeli Army.
Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres will also meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and will discuss the need for full implementation of Resolution 1701.
Before her trip, Livni toured the northern border and met with local municipality leaders and representatives of the emergency responders. In a press conference in Kiryat Shmona, Livni said she is not naïve. “I live in the Middle East, but I truly believe that there is a window of opportunity to create a new situation in Lebanon. We have to give it a chance and if it will be realized, then we really succeeded in reshaping the area,” she said.
Livni reiterated that even if the war would have taken a year or two, we would not have succeeded to return the kidnapped soldiers in a military operation. Because of the UN decision, there is a good chance they will return.”
Livni also blasted Syria and said they fill a problematic role in the region and they must decide where they stand. Livni emphasized that Israel has no intention of attacking Syria.