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(photo credit: AP)
Europe must disregard the price tag of economic sanctions on Iran, because a nuclear Iran is a threat to the entire world, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told European leaders during a slew of meetings in Brussels on Monday.
Livni, in Brussels to take part in the Israel-EU Association meeting, met with key European politicians involved in the Iranian issue and urged them to take economic sanctions Teheran would feel. EU foreign ministers were in Brussels holding their monthly meeting.
Livni's meetings with European leaders came a day after she met in Jerusalem with Stuart Levey, the US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and discussed efforts to get the European financial institutions to cut business ties with Iran.
Among the leaders Livni met were Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema, whose country is Iran's biggest trading partner in Europe; Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, whose country is currently a member of the UN Security Council, where sanctions are being debated; German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency; and Portugal's Foreign Minister Lu s Amado, whose country will take over the EU presidency from Germany on July 1.
Israeli diplomatic officials noted that the EU foreign ministers passed a resolution on Iran Monday, deploring Teheran's refusal to stop enriching uranium and reaffirming the EU's support for UN Security Council Resolution 1737 that called for sanctions on Iran.
"The Council reasserts its support for the UN Security Council process and underlines that the UNSC has expressed its intention in Resolution 1737 to adopt further appropriate measures under Article 41 Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter should Iran fail to comply," the statement said. "The Council urges the international community to act with the necessary firmness in support of this process."
Livni was scheduled to address the 27 EU foreign ministers late Monday evening.
Earlier in the day, in her meeting with D'Alema, Livni referred to comments he recently made to the effect that while it was true that Hizbullah was rearming in Lebanon, it was only doing so north of the Litani River.
Livni, according to sources in her office, replied that Hizbullah's rearming - wherever it was taking place - was in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that put an end to the summer's war in Lebanon. She said that this was not only a problem for Israel, but also a problem for the multinational force in southern Lebanon, which is currently headed by Italy.
Italy is one of the countries that has come out in favor recently of taking a more flexible approach to a Hamas-Fatah Palestinian Authority government.
Livni said before going to Brussels that there was concern in Israel about erosion in the European position on the need to remain firm behind the Quartet's three principles for recognizing a PA government: recognizing Israel, renouncing terrorism and accepting previous agreements.
But External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner made clear Monday that the EU would maintain its wait-and-see policy toward a Palestinian unity government.
"We have to see results," AP quoted Ferrero-Waldner as saying on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers meeting. "We have been waiting for so many months to have a national unity government... a few more weeks will also be borne by us."
"We simply cannot decide yet when, or even if, we will be able to reengage with the new Palestinian government of national unity because we will need to see its program and we will need to see its actions," she said.