Israel hopes for Arab consenus on Iran nuclear drive
"DUBAI, April 13 (Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will visit Qatar for the first time on Sunday and hopes there is a chance to build a consensus among Arab nations against Iran's nuclear ambitions, which worry many Gulf states.
Livni's visit to speak at an international forum is the first by a senior Israeli official since President Shimon Peres visited Doha in January 2007, when he was deputy prime minister.
"Iran represents a threat to the region and to the world and we cannot tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran... I see an opportunity here," she said, speaking to Qatar's Al-Watan newspaper on the eve of her trip.
Like all six U.S.-allied Gulf Arab states, Qatar does not have official diplomatic ties with Israel but unlike them it does host a small Israeli trade mission.
Qatari officials, including Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, have met Livni before but her invitation to speak on Arab land remains a significant step amid icy Arab-Israeli ties.
Livni praised Qatar's willingness to talk to all parties in the Middle East conflict, and saw an opportunity for Israel and the Arabs to build a front against Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"Stopping Iran is in the joint interest of Israel and the Arab world together and generates the understanding that Israel and Islamic countries in the region face a common threat."
Like the other Sunni Muslim-ruled Gulf Arab countries, Qatar is concerned about the growing influence of Shi'ite Muslim Iran and its uranium enrichment programme......."