PM: Iran Will Not Be Nuclear

PM says in holiday interview he is convinced int'l pressure will be effective in pre-empting nuclear program.

"I want to tell the citizens of Israel: Iran will not have nuclear capability," said Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a pre-Passover interview. According to Olmert, the international community is making an enormous effort, in which Israel has a part, to prevent Iran from attaining nonconventional weapons capabilities. "And I believe, and also know, that the bottom line of these efforts is that Iran will not be nuclear," Olmert said.

In his holiday interview, his first to the print media in a year, Olmert declared that since the Annapolis summit in November, the possibility of reaching an understanding between Israel and the Palestinians during 2008 has grown. The prime minister said that the issue of Jerusalem has not yet been discussed at all, neither in his talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas nor as part of the talks headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni with Ahmed Qureia.

As to Syria, Olmert said: "I know exactly what the Syrians want and I think the Syrians know what the State of Israel and I expect from the peace process."

Olmert said he intented to run again for the leadership of Kadima and to lead the party in the next elections. He did not rule out the possibility of a merger between Kadima and the Labor Party prior to elections.

Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is not suitable for the post of prime minister, Olmert said, because of his positions. "We remember what happened here when he was prime minister."

Olmert also voiced unequivocal, public backing for Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann, calling him devoted to the rule of law. Olmert revealed that a few months ago he asked former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak to head up a committee that would be charged with drafting a law aimed at guaranteeing the independence of the Supreme Court, with Friedman's agreement. According to Olmert, Barak agreed, but later changed his mind.