Monday, July 07, 2008

"Israel's security is not negotiable": Italian Foreign Minister

Middle East: 'Israel's security indisputable' says Italian minister

Tel Aviv, 7 July (AKI) - Israel's security is not up for discussion, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Monday during his first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories since taking office in May.

''The message is that Israel's security is not negotiable," Frattini (photo) told journalists on arrival in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.

He said the conservative Italian government viewed the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and Iran "with great concern."

The purpose of his trip to the region is to "reaffirm Italy's role in the Middle East peace process and as a player that is loved and respected by all sides," Frattini stated.

Frattini will on Tuesday meet Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. He and Livni are due to hold a joint press conference after their meeting.

Frattini is also scheduled on Tuesday to meet Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party.

Frattini is also slated to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

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