Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, at her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday, reiterated Israel's concerns that Russian-produced weapons sold to Syria reached Hizbullah.
Israel has complained that Hizbullah had Russian-made anti-tank missiles - which it bought from Syria - in its possession and that these weapons caused many of the casualties the IDF suffered in the war in Lebanon. IDF forces that captured Hizbullah positions found weapons with Russian markings - among them Kornet guided anti-tank missiles - stashed in the group's bunkers. Russia has previously assured Israel that none of the weapons it sold to Syria would reach Hizbullah.
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However, Lavrov said at a press conference after Friday's meeting that his country was now investigating the possibility. "We have clear rules under which a country cannot transfer weapons we sell it to a third party," he said.
Livni said that Lebanon had "a clear and unconditional responsibility to enforce the weapons embargo called for by the Security Council. If Syria does not comply with the resolution, it should face sanctions. Syria must understand that a condition for its acceptance in the international community is ending its support for terror and for Hizbullah."
Addressing the overall situation in the Middle East, Lavrov expressed support for an Arab League initiative proposed earlier this week for an international peace conference under the auspices of the UN Security Council that would bypass the Road Map plan and call for direct negotiations between Israel and its neighbors - Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
Livni said that Israel was opposed to the Arab proposal, and that an international conference was not the right move under the current circumstances. She added however, that Israel was in favor of resuming dialogue with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and that a meeting with him should take place soon. "That doesn't mean there will be peace tomorrow morning, but we've got to see what we need to do to talk about the future," the foreign minister said.
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