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Middle east

Miliband 'urgently' reviewing laws after Livni arrest warrant

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-16

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Britain is "looking urgently" at changing legal procedures after an arrest warrant was issued for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, sparking outrage in Israel.

AFP - Britain is "looking urgently at ways" to change the system following an arrest warrant issued for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tuesday.

"The Government is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed in order to avoid this sort of situation arising again," Miliband said.

"The procedure by which arrest warrants can be sought and issued without any prior knowledge or advice by a prosecutor is an unusual feature of the system in England and Wales," he said in a statement.

Israel earlier slammed the warrant for Livni, warning Britain would not be able to play a key role in the peace process unless it curbed such actions.

The warrant is understood to have been issued in a London court at the weekend against Livni over her role in Israel's war against Hamas-run Gaza at the turn of the year.

Media reports said it caused Livni to cancel a trip to Britain, although her office said the trip was only postponed because of scheduling problems.

Miliband said Britain was determined to "protect and develop" ties with Israel which was a "strategic partner and a close friend of the UK".

"We are determined to protect and develop these ties. Israeli leaders - like leaders from other countries - must be able to visit and have a proper dialogue with the British Government," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office told AFP on Monday it was urgently assessing the implications of the warrant.

Date created : 2009-12-15

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