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Tzipi Livni, Former Israeli Foreign Minister, In Britain Following Changes To War Crimes Law

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TZIPI LIVNI
PA

PA -- Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni will meet Foreign Secretary William Hague in Britain in the first test of new laws governing arrest warrants for war crimes.

Ms Livni was forced to cancel a visit to the UK in December 2009 after a British court issued a warrant for her arrest.

But an Act recently passed by Parliament introduced a new requirement aimed at preventing the courts being used for political purposes.

The change has paved the way for Ms Livni's visit, which was announced on Monday night at a Conservative Party conference fringe event.

Speaking earlier at a Conservative Friends of Israel meeting, director Stuart Polak said Ms Livni always planned to come to the UK once there had been a change in the law to prevent her being arrested for political capital.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill received royal assent a couple of weeks ago, meaning she is now able to visit the UK, he said.

Mr Polak added: "It has been a blot on the landscape of the relations of the UK and Israel which is why David Cameron and William Hague said in Opposition that it should be rectified, which is what they have done.

"If it gets rid of the blot on the landscape then it is good news."

The arrest warrant followed Ms Livni's role as foreign minister during Israel's three-week military campaign in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, codenamed Operation Cast Lead.

The offensive led to the deaths of more than 1,000 Palestinians.