Livni: We must restore public's faith

FM urges parties to join Kadima coalition; Netanyahu refuses, says Kadima is "a party of failures."

Livni UN 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Livni UN 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
A day after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he would resign after Kadima has chosen a new leader, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday appealed for parties to join a Kadima-led coalition and called for stability among current coalition members. "We must leave the small considerations aside and create unity, both inwardly and outwardly," she told reporters after meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in New York, adding that the main goal of the coalition members would be to "restore the public's faith in Israeli politics." Moreover, she added, "I believe that the internal divisions we have become accustomed to and the idea that different parties have such extremely different ideologies and agendas is a thing of the past and is no longer the case. There is a common agenda that every party can put forward, on political issues and also on dealing with the threats we face." Livni also said that Israel would continue working to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians this year, as was outlined at the Annapolis conference. "We have made efforts this year to reach an agreement with the Palestinians and we will continue to do so," she said. "I am here now as Israel's foreign minister and I can promise you that I also intend to represent Israel's interests in future." The Foreign Minister went on to say that the current political turmoil had no bearing on security threats or the need to secure the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. "All the [Kadima leadership] contenders are committed to the same interests," she said. Meanwhile, opposition leader Binyanim Netanyahu reiterated that his Likud party would not join a Kadima-led coalition. "Kadima is a party of failures," he told Channel 2, citing the Second Lebanon War, the apparent caving in to Syrian President Bashar Assad and the seeming willingness to negotiate with the Palestinians over Jerusalem. Netanyahu called for a general election. "We must let the public choose. Particularly at such a critical juncture we need to let the people decide who will lead them." Referring to Livni's remarks about restoring the public's faith, Netanyahu said the only way to do this was to go to the people, which would be the "moral and correct" thing to do. "The public expects a strong leader," he stressed. "Kadima's way has failed."