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Diplomatic ‘Quartet’ hails free Palestinian elections, urges all to renounce violence

Diplomatic ‘Quartet’ hails free Palestinian elections, urges all to renounce violence

The diplomatic ‘Quartet’ on the Middle East today congratulated the Palestinian people on holding free elections, while emphasizing that armed activities stand in contradiction to the democratic process.

In a statement released following consultations, the Quartet congratulated President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people “on an electoral process that was free, fair and secure” and called on all parties to respect the results and the outcome of the constitutional process “so that it may unfold in an atmosphere of calm and security.”

While noting that the Palestinian people have voted for change, the Quartet expressed the view that their aspirations for peace and Statehood remain unchanged.

“The Quartet reiterates its view that there is a fundamental contradiction between armed group and militia activities and the building of a democratic state,” the group said. “A two-State solution to the conflict requires all participants in the democratic process to renounce violence and terror, accept Israel's right to exist, and disarm, as outlined in the Road Map.”

The Road Map is a peace plan which aims for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Earlier today, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a statement congratulating President Abbas and the Palestinian people on the peaceful and orderly conduct of their legislative elections, which he called “an important step toward the achievement of a Palestinian State.”

Mr. Annan himself, responding to press questions about the elections, said that “any group that wishes to participate in the democratic process should ultimately disarm.”

The Secretary-General, who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said there is a “fundamental contradiction” between carrying weapons and participating in a democratic process and sitting in parliament. Referring to Hamas, he added, “I'm sure they are thinking about that, too.”

The Secretary-General will meet with members of the Quartet next week in London.

During his phone conversation with President Abbas, the Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the work of the UN-supported Central Election Commission, according to the statement.