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Abbas Urges Respect of Result, West Alarmed
RAMALLAH, West Bank, January26 , 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said Thursday, January26 , that the results of the legislative elections, apparently won by Hamas, must be respected as Western nations expressed alarm over the group's victory.
Alarmed western nations stressed they would refuse to deal with the Palestinian group unless it disarms and renounces what they said "violence".
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the election results "may confront us with an entirely new situation, which will need to be analyzed by (EU foreign ministers) next Monday."
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on his part, said Hamas' election victory was a setback for Middle East peace negotiations, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"If this result is confirmed, then everything we had hoped for -- to open a window to peace between Israel and Palestine -- has been put back until who knows when," Berlusconi told Italian radio.
"It's very, very negative," Berlusconi said when asked to comment on the Palestinian preliminary results.
French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin also said he was concerned at the election results.
He, however, said he hoped the "conditions which are indispensable for working with whatever Palestinian government can be fulfilled."
"For France these conditions were renunciation of violence and agreeing to move forward according to the peace objectives that have been fixed."
"And second, recognition of the state of Israel and international agreements," Villepin added.
Britain also said it was ready to do business with Hamas provided the resistance group drops what it said support for "terrorism".
"Of course we recognize electoral mandates but equally people have to be clear that you can only do business with those who have renounced terrorism," Blair's official spokesman said Thursday.
The Swedish government warned that Hamas would have to change its ways to win cooperation from the European Union.
The European Commission, however, said it would work with any "peaceful" Palestinian government.
"It is clear that Hamas has really got a very large proportion of the vote," European External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told a European Parliament committee before official results were announced.
"What is important is that we state we are happy to work with any government if that government is prepared to work by peaceful means," she said.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana warned on December18 , that if Hamas wins the polls, it will be "very difficult that help and the money that goes to ... the Palestinian Authority will continue to flow".
Two days before, the US House of Representatives threatened the PA that it risked losing US financial aid and other support if it allowed Hamas to contest the polls.
Hamas' stunning election victory has also drawn welcome from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which urged the resistance group to preserve national unity.
"We congratulate Hamas on this stunning victory and for shouldering its responsibilities," Brotherhood official Issam al-Aryan told AFP.
"Hamas must build on the past achievements of the Palestinian struggle and reunify the ranks of society in order to present a united front in parliament," he added.
Aryan urged foreign powers to respect the results of the Palestinian parliamentary election.
"The Palestinian people has spoken and Western countries, notably the United States, should know they are now dealing with an entire people," he said.
The same message was reiterated by the Palestinian leaders.
"I urge all the parties to respect the law and accept the will of the people," Abbas said in a statement read by a Palestinian Authority spokesman, AFP said.
Initial results showed that Hamas has won an absolute majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative elections.
"The elections were transparent and fair and all the parties should respect the results," the Palestinian leader added.
Hamas, on its part, also urged the United States to respect the election results and the will of the Palestinian people.
"I call on the American administration to respect ... the will of the Palestinian people and the result of the ballot," said Ismail Haniya, chief candidate of Hamas' Change and Reform list.
"Hamas is not going to work alone, but with the other groups who represent the Palestinian people," he said.
Celebrating Hamas victory, thousands of the group's supporters have poured into the streets, handing out sweets in celebration of the election win.
The joyful Palestinians also waved green Hamas flags and chanted slogans in support of the group.