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Russia, Israel Urge Respect for Peaceful Principles
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni urged the participants in the Palestinian elections to uphold the principles of the Middle East peace process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

During a telephone conversation to discuss Hamas' victory in the Palestinian legislative elections, the two countries' foreign ministers "acknowledged that voting in the Palestinian territories passed in an organized manner and in line with commonly accepted standards and norms," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

They agreed that "all the participants in the Palestinian electoral process should respect the principles of peaceful settlement stipulated in the Road Map," the statement said.

The two ministers emphasized that the prospects of establishing an independent, democratic Palestinian state "imply the rejection of violence and terror, the disarmament of illegal armed units and the recognition of Israel's right to exist," it said. 

In a surprising election victory for the militant group, Hamas won 76 seats in the 132-member legislative council, according to official results of Wednesday's vote.

Russia is a member of the quartet mediating for peace in the Middle East, which also include the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. In a statement issued on Thursday, the quartet called on Hamas to renounce terror, recognize the existence of Israel and disarm.

(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2006)

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