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Israel's Livni: Seek Peace with Palestinians, Confront Iran

The new leader of Israel's ruling party is vowing to move forward with peace talks with the Palestinians, while confronting Iran. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in Jerusalem.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who has been nominated to form Israel's next government, has vowed to push for peace with the Palestinians.

In her first policy speech, Livni said she is committed to negotiations on the creation of a Palestinian state, though she cast doubt on Washington's goal of a peace agreement by the end of the year. She said dates should not stand in the way of making progress.

Livni took a much tougher line on Iran, saying Israel and the international community need to confront Tehran and not appease it.

She said "all options are on the table," hinting at a possible Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. With Iran's president threatening to wipe the Jewish state "off the map," Israeli officials have warned time and again that they will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Iran will top the agenda when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visits Moscow this week. Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting, Mr. Olmert said he would urge Russia not to sell sophisticated weapons to Iran and Syria.

"We will remind Russia of matters that trouble us greatly," he said, including "the supply of arms to irresponsible elements."

Israel is especially concerned that Russia could sell anti-aircraft missiles to Iran that could provide a formidable defense against an Israeli attack.