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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Russian Federation
27 January 2006
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT

_______________________________

32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl., 119200, Moscow G-200; tel.: (095) 244 4119, fax: 244 4112
e-mail: dip@mid.ru
, web-address: www.mid.ru


Unofficial translation from Russian

PRESS RELEASE

Statement by Russian Observers Concerning Palestinian Legislative Council Elections



93-27-01-2006

Following is the text of the statement:

"Elections for a Palestinian Legislative Council were held in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip on January 25, 2006. They took place for a second time after the creation of bodies of Palestinian self-government and became an important step along the road of strengthening Palestinian democracy. According to preliminary estimates, about 80 percent of the Palestinians eligible to vote took part in the polls.

"More than 1,000 international observers and also tens of thousands of authorized representatives of Palestinian political parties and public organizations watched the course of the elections. The Russian delegation consisting of Federation Council members, State Duma deputies and the representatives of the Central Election Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia took an active part in the international monitoring of the elections. It held meetings with the leadership of the Central Election Commission of the PNA and laid a wreath on the grave of Yasser Arafat, the first Head of the PNA. On election day the Russian representatives visited many polling stations of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and were able to observe the course of the voting. The Russian observers formulated and generalized their remarks for transfer to the Palestinian side.

"The freedom of the expression of the will of Palestinian voters was ensured. This had been facilitated by the adoption by leading Palestinian parties and movements of a code of conduct governing matters of participation in the elections for the Legislative Council. PNA power structures ensured the observance of law and order during the elections. The reaching of a number of important accords between Israel's authorities and the PNA on the organization of the elections had played a positive role. Thanks to this, in particular, polls took place both in the eastern part and the environs of Jerusalem. They on the whole enabled Palestinian residents of this city to exercise their lawful democratic rights. No serious problems were noted at the Israeli checkpoints located in the West Bank.

"By common acknowledgement, the elections were held in an organized and open manner and generally conformed to international norms and standards. Regardless of their final results, they have demonstrated the Palestinians' ability to advance along the road of creating their own statehood."



January 27, 2006

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