NEW YORK - "There are still those who, in the name of consensus and engagement, continue to obstruct the urgent steps ... to bring Iran's sinister ambitions to a halt," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday, days after the UN Security Council decided to postpone a vote on imposing tougher sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Livni's message was apparently directed at Russia and China, who pressed to restart negotiations with Tehran based on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency before voting on sanctions.
"Iran speaks openly of its desire to wipe Israel off the map, and the world does nothing. Too many see the danger but walk idly by, hoping that someone else will take care of it," Livni said. She added that Iran was the world's primary sponsor of terrorist activity.
"It is a major source of instability and conflict in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and across the entire Middle East and it is the enemy of Arab-Israeli co-existence," Livni told her listeners at the organization's 62nd annual assembly.
She went on to address Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements denying the holocaust.
"No one disagrees that Iran denies the Holocaust and speaks openly of its desire to wipe a member state - mine - off the map. And none disagrees that, in violation of Security Council resolutions, it is actively pursuing the means to achieve this end."
Reiterating her change of heart on the convergence plan the government had put on hold last year, Livni said: "We know, especially after withdrawing from Lebanon and Gaza, that territorial withdrawal by itself will not bring peace." In her speech, Livni added that Israel must first "address the core clash of values that lies beneath the conflict."
On the recent developments in efforts to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and the perceived opportunities to achieve that goal, Livni said: "There is no substitute for the bilateral process."
"Failure is not an option - but it is for the parties themselves to define success," she said. "It is time to reclaim democracy, and this begins by rejecting those who abuse it ... No true democracy on earth allows armed militias, or groups with racist or violent agendas, to participate in elections."
Livni began her speech according to procedure, addressing the assembly and dignitaries. But then she broke with protocol and mentioned the families of the abducted Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
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