Monday, December 14, 2009

UPDATE: Livni claims UK visit invitation declined due to absence of PM Brown

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni declined a request to lecture in Britain due to her inability to obtain a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and not due to fears of getting arrested, sources close to Livni said Monday night.

Livni was invited a month ago to address the Jewish National Fund (JNF) UK's annual conference in London, but two weeks ago, she turned down the invitation because Brown would be abroad at the time. Instead, she addressed the conference by video.

"The opposition leader is proud of all her decisions connected to Operation Cast Lead," Livni's office said in a statement. "The operation achieved its goal of defending the people of Israel and restoring Israel's deterrence. Livni will continue presenting her view everywhere around the world."

However, Israel Radio reported on Monday night that such a warrant had indeed been issued by a British court. Quoting government officials in London, the report stated that the court had annulled the warrant upon realizing that Livni was not in the UK physically.

Officials in Jerusalem speculated that once it became known that Livni planned to travel to Britain, one of the pro-Palestinian groups there likely spread the word that they had requested an arrestwarrant. Legal officials in the Foreign Ministry said Livni lacked diplomatic immunity that could protect her from arrest.