Ex-Israel foreign minister to visit Britain after law change

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni will make an official visit to Britain this week for the first time since cancelling a trip when foreign minister in 2009 after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Livni axed the visit in December that year when a British court issued an arrest warrant over her role in Israel's 2008-2009 war on Gaza after an application by Palestinian activists, in a move that proved embarrassing for London.

But Britain's Foreign Office said that Livni will meet with Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday after an amendment to the law that allowed the activists to apply to the court.

The law change came into force in mid-September, paving the way for Livni's visit, a Foreign Office spokesman said Tuesday.

"I can confirm that Tzipi Livni intends to visit the UK this week," he said.

"As leader of Israel's opposition, she will have a number of meetings including with the foreign secretary to discuss UK-Israeli relations and recent events in the region."

Announcing the amendment last year, Hague said the change would ensure that private arrest warrants for offences under certain international laws, including the Geneva Convention, would first have to be approved by the chief prosecutor.

Before the change, the law empowered courts to issue warrants against people accused of offences including certain war crimes, torture and hostage-taking, even if they were committed outside the country by a non-British national.

© 2011 AFP

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