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Mahmoud Abbas' victory is legitimate
The Palestinians have opted for peace. This is the general comment on the outcome of the presidential elections in Palestine. "Palestinians voted for the settlement of relations with Israel in accordance with international law," said Alexander Yakovenko, Russian foreign ministry official spokesman. The majority of Palestinians do want peace as they have grown tied of the blockade of their villages and towns, of unemployment and hopelessness. Mahmoud Abbas' victory is legitimate, as he was the strongest presidential contender. However, we must remember that Palestinians' choice of him was based on their attitude to this politician, as well as the global community's attitude to him. The Palestinians gained a leader who enjoys the support of the majority of the nation and the world community's recognition, which is the elections' main outcome. Indeed, Mr. Abbas is a leader whom Israel is prepared to have dialogue with and the United States supports. However, Palestinians say the situation in the region will deteriorate again if no progress is achieved within a few months after the elections. And Mahmoud Abbas may fall out of Israel and the US' favours. It is important that all parties to the conflict should show restraint at the moment, while the mediators take a balanced approach to the settlement process. At any rate, the situation in the region will not change dramatically any time soon. Although everybody is striving to make peace, a new round of confrontation may follow as each party has its own vision of how their disputes should be settled. Palestine demands the Israeli troops' withdrawal from its lands, seeks to regain the 1967 borders, announce eastern Jerusalem its capital and settle the refugee problem. Israel, for its part, wants to retain part of its settlements on the occupied territories. Jerusalem's status even is not on the agenda at the moment. The refugee problem is, undoubtedly, the most complicated one. Palestine is prepared to resume peace talks based on the roadmap proposed by the four mediators to the Mideastern peace process, i.e. Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations. Israel approves of the roadmap although with reservations. Israel is thus far prepared to discuss security issues alone, while Palestine has proposed launching talks on comprehensive settlement based on the roadmap. Palestinians are not going to end their resistance to the occupation, which they believe is their right. The international mediators' task under the circumstances is to get both parties engaged in the settlement process and make sure that both of them fulfil their obligations. An energetic member of the international "quartet," Moscow is eager to do the utmost to ensure this course of events.
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