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Aid to Palestinian government will be reviewed

Quartet says aid to Palestinian government will be reviewed in light of key conditions

Future aid to the Palestinian government will be reviewed in light of a number of conditions, including recognition of Israel and a commitment to non-violence, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in London, reading out a statement on behalf of the diplomatic Quartet, which also includes the Russian Federation, European Union and the United States.

“The Quartet believes that the Palestinian people have the right to expect that a new government will address their aspirations for peace and statehood, and it welcomed President Abbas' affirmation that the Palestinian Authority is committed to the Road Map” ? an outline peace plan ? “previous agreements and obligations between the parties and a negotiated two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Mr. Annan said.

The Quartet stressed that all members of a future Palestinian Government must be committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, the Secretary-General said, adding that it was “inevitable that any future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors” against the Government's commitments in those areas.

The Quartet called on the newly elected Palestinian Legislative Council to support the formation of a government committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, as well as the rule of law, tolerance, reform and sound fiscal management.

Both parties were urged to respect their existing agreements, including on movement and access, and were reminded of their obligations under the Road Map to avoid any unilateral actions which prejudice final status issues.

The Quartet called on the Palestinian Authority to “ensure law and order, prevent terrorist attacks and dismantle the infrastructure of terror,” while acknowledging “the positive role of the Palestinian Authority security forces in helping maintain order during the recent elections.”

“Progress on further consolidation, accountability and reform remains an important task,” the Secretary-General said.

“The Quartet reiterated its view that settlement expansion must stop, reiterated its concern regarding the route of the barrier, and noted Acting Prime Minister Olmert's recent statements that Israel will continue the process of removing unauthorized outposts,” he stated.

The meeting was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

Responding to press questions, Mr. Annan voiced his belief that most of the Palestinian people had been seeking peace and better conditions. “They were voting for an honest government, and they were voting in the hope that their lives and future would be better, but not necessarily for a basic covenant of one group or the other,” he said.

On the question of Hamas, he said if it accepts the basic principles reiterated by the Quartet “and transforms itself from an armed movement into a political party respecting the rules of the game and representing its people, I think the international community should be able to work with them.”

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