Blair Woos Leftwing Mitzna in England

Friday, January 10, 2003 | Tag Cloud

Jan. 10, 2003

Jerusalem (ICEJ) — While Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was getting battered at home, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was hosting Sharon’s chief opponent in the upcoming Israeli elections, Labor Party chairman Amram Mitzna. Blair said on Thursday that he would work toward reversing England’s restrictions on exporting security-related equipment to Israel.

Mitzna reportedly raised the issue on behalf of Israeli sources he refused to identify because they stressed the problems the arms embargo posed to Israel’s defense needs. The items under reconsideration are those not used by Israeli security in dealing with the Palestinians.

The men discussed ways to renew the peace process, while maintaining pressure on terrorist organizations. Blair told Mitzna that he was disappointed with Sharon’s decision to bar a Palestinian delegation from traveling to London for a conference on Palestinian Authority reforms. Sharon’s decision followed the double suicide bombings in Tel Aviv on Sunday that killed 22 persons.

Blair’s envoy to the Middle East, Lord Michael Levy, initiated the meeting between the two, infuriating Sharon’s bureau. Blair did not meet with Netanyahu last month when he was in London.

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