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10 January 2005
STRAW CONGRATULATES NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
The Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said today:
'I warmly congratulate Mahmoud Abbas on his election as the new Palestinian Authority President. The Palestinian people have already demonstrated their commitment to democracy. The challenge now is for the new President to use his mandate to lay the foundations for the future Palestinian state we want to see emerge in the context of a final settlement.
'This is a crucial time for the Middle East. The prospects for progress towards a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are now better than they have been for many years. These elections mark an important point on that road to peace.
'The positive approach taken towards these elections by the Israeli government was also encouraging.
'We will work closely with the new Palestinian leadership as they face the many challenges ahead. In particular we will support them as they build the democratic institutions which will underpin a future Palestinian state. I look forward to welcoming the Palestinian leadership to London in March for a meeting aiming to do just this. And we will of course work with both the Palestinian Authority and Israel towards ending the ongoing cycle of violence and moving closer to a settlement of the Middle East conflict'.