Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Middle east

Netanyahu to press for tougher Iran sanctions on European trip

©

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-23

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads for his first official trip to Europe on Tuesday, aiming to press Italy and France to toughen sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

AFP - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads for his first official trip to Europe on Tuesday, aiming to press Italy and France to harden sanctions against arch-foe Iran over its nuclear drive.
  
The hawkish Netanyahu will meet his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi in Rome and the following day will head to Paris, where he will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy as well as US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.
  
"Above all, the prime minister is planning to bring up the Iranian dossier," a senior government official told AFP.
  
"The scenes of violence and repression of the past days have lifted the mask of the bloody regime that doesn't hesitate to fire on unarmed protesters," said the official, requesting anonymity.
  
"With what is happening now in Iran, words and condemnations are not enough, the world must decide to take much harder measures to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear arms," he said.
  
Netanyahu has repeatedly said that Iran's nuclear programme constitutes the biggest threat to Israel since the Jewish state's founding in 1948.
  
Israel and main ally Washington suspect Iran of trying to acquire atomic weapons under the guise of its nuclear programme, a charge that Tehran has repeatedly denied.
  
The Jewish state is widely considered to be the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East and views Iran as its arch-enemy because of regular calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
  
In Italy, Netanyahu will ask Rome to reduce its commercial links with Iran, which have grown in recent years, according to the mass-selling Yediot Aharonot.
  
In both countries the prime minister will seek to put across his position on the stalled Middle East peace process in the aftermath of his speech on June 14 finally accepting the creation of a Palestinian state but imposing a slew of conditions slammed as unacceptable by the Palestinians.
  
Netanyahu will stress that any final peace deal will have to have Palestinian recognition of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people -- something the Palestinians have long rejected.
  
"The prime minister will explain that his words can be translated into acts only if the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state, which they refuse for the moment," the official said.
  
The issue of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank will also be on the agenda for the talks. The United States has repeatedly demanded a halt to all Israeli activity in the settlements, regarded by the international community as illegal.
  
Netanyahu has refused to stop construction, saying it will carry on in order to accommodate population increases.
  
"The prime minister will again say that Israel will not create new settlements, will not confiscate new lands and will insist on the fact that residents of settlements must be allowed to lead normal lives," the official said.
  
Netanyahu will also bring up the issue of improving relations between Israel and its main trading partner the European Union.
  
EU nations agreed late last year to enhance ties with Israel but the process stalled when Israel launched a deadly 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip in December.

Date created : 2009-06-23

Comments

COMMENT(S)