Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D., on the outcome of the Palestinian Elections
“The Palestinian Central Election Commission has announced the preliminary results of yesterday's legislative elections. It is clear that Hamas candidates have won an overall majority of the seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
I would like to pay tribute to President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority for ensuring the professional conduct of the elections in difficult circumstances. The Palestinian people voted freely, and in large numbers.
In the days and weeks to come, the EU and the wider international community will follow developments very closely and analyse why so many Palestinians cast their votes for Hamas candidates. We will have to consider the implications for the Middle East Peace Process and for our future policies in the region.
EU Foreign Ministers will have a first discussion when we meet in
Nothing which has occurred in the region in recent times alters the basic reality that a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict can only be found through an agreed and mutually satisfactory two-State solution. The principles and steps set out in the Quartet Roadmap continue to provide the only available framework for such a settlement.
The Government, together with our partners in the EU, will continue to support Israeli and Palestinian political leaders with the courage to take the difficult decisions necessary for a negotiated settlement. I hope that the government to be formed following these elections will commit itself clearly to the creation of a democratic and viable
26th January 2006