In her first visit to a Gulf nation, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni sought Arab support against Iran and militant groups, warning Monday that extremists like Hezbollah and Hamas are trying to sabotage regional peace efforts. ( AP )
Livni told delegates at a democracy and trade conference in Qatar that Israel and Arab states are mired in the same struggle with extremists who "refuse to recognize our democratic rights."
"When I say `our,' I mean the rights of Israelis, moderate Palestinians, moderate Arabs and pragmatic Muslim regimes alike," Livni said Monday during a panel discussion.
"We, the moderates of the region, are all members of the same camp," she said.
It was Livni's first visit to Qatar, an energy-rich Gulf state that supports the Palestinian movement Hamas and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
The two countries maintain low-level trade relations, however, and Qatar publicly offered to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas earlier this year.
Hamas officials visit Qatar regularly. Last year, Qatar also invited Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit.
On Monday, Livni said Iran - whose nuclear ambitions worry Israel and Iran's Arab neighbors across the Gulf - is "an example of extremist ideology."
The three-day conference was attended by mostly European delegates, and several Arab politicians were conspicuously absent.
Livni said she'd visit "any Arab country that would invite me."