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Peters on Palestinian Elections

Peters on Palestinian Elections

The election of Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas to the Palestinian legislative council reflects the will of the Palestinian people and must be respected, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said today.

"Hamas now has an historic opportunity and responsibility to change direction and embrace the peace process," he said.

"Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei's government has resigned, and Hamas is in a position to form a new government. Hamas now has the responsibility to represent all Palestinians and embody their need and desire for peace and stability.

"Hamas will not be able to build a successful Palestinian state unless it ceases definitively the violence of its armed militias and recognises Israel's parallel right to exist in peace and security. New Zealand calls on Hamas to do just that,"� Mr Peters said.

"There are plenty of signs that Hamas is changing, just as the desperate need of the Palestinians for peace and statehood is undeniable. We hope that a way will be found to take forward the peace process with the representatives of the Palestinian people, and we express New Zealand's support to the Quartet in its efforts," Mr Peters concluded.

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