No Hurry for Diplomatic Solution to Crisis

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:17 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Neither the United States nor Israel appear to be in any hurry to resolve the current crisis with diplomacy, although Israel's foreign minister did mention the word on Tuesday.

"We are beginning a diplomatic process in parallel to the military operations, which shall continue," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said.

"The military objectives are to hit Hizbullah's infrastructure and physical strength. The diplomatic process is not intended to reduce the time available for the IDF's operations, but to extend it in order to avoid the need for additional operations in the future."

Livni spoke after meeting with special United Nations envoy Vijay Nambiar. She said any diplomatic efforts would be aimed at gaining international support for the Israeli army operations.

Livni said a "ceasefire for the sake of a ceasefire" would not be enough. She said Israel wants to see the unconditional return of its soldiers and the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1559 -- "to prevent Hizbullah from establishing itself as a provocateur in the region."

U.N. resolution 1559 calls for the deployment of the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon and the disarmament of militias (i.e. Hizballah). Any agreement must also include preventing Syria and Iran from re-arming Hizballah in the future, Livni said.

President Bush reportedly plans to send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East, but no time or date has been set for her departure.

On Monday, a State Department spokesman said only that Rice would be going to the region "at some point in the future."

She's meeting with her advisers on Tuesday to discuss the framework for such a trip, an administration official said.

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