Arrest fears prompts Sharon not to visit UK
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
London, Sept 17, IRNA
UK-Israeli War Crimes
Israeli leader Ariel Sharon has declined an invitation from Prime Minister Tony Blair to visit Britain because of fears that he may be arrested for war crimes, according to press reports.
The fears come after Israel's current chief-of-staff General Dan Halutz was reportedly to avoid visiting the UK after former Israeli commander Doron Almog only escaped arrest by not disembarking on his El Al flight to London last weekend.
The Irish Sun Saturday said that Sharon had complained about the legal proceedings brought against the commander during a meeting with Blair on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York last week, when he declined the invitation.
"I would really like to visit Britain. The trouble is that I, like General Almog, also served in the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) for many years," he was quoted saying. "I too am a general," he added.
Blair was said by Israeli Army radio to be embarrassed by the exchange and promised "to take care of the matter."
The Guardian newspaper on Friday reported that Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, was also planning to press the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, for a change in the law that makes such warrants possible.
It is understood that the Israeli military chiefs face arrest under the 1957 Geneva Conventions Act that permits the prosecution in Britain of alleged war criminals whatever their nationality and even if their actions were committed abroad.
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