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EU Must focus on Palestinian statehood - de Brún

2 February, 2006

Speaking after a European Parliament debate on the recent Palestinian election Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún called on the EU to focus its energies on assisting the Palestinian people in building a stable and peaceful state.

‘Having seen first hand the electoral process in Palestine I want to congratulate all involved in setting an excellent standard for the entire region in terms of transparency and fairness. The Palestinian people demonstrated an extraordinary will in overcoming the difficulties posed by the Israeli occupation and showed that they were fully committed to democracy.

‘It is deeply regrettable that the Israeli Government placed restrictions on the democratic exercise of the right to vote by Palestinians in East Jerusalem

‘While there is much debate on the outcome of the elections and its likely impact on the future of Palestinian politics, what is clear is that the Israeli occupation remains the biggest obstacle to peace in the region.

‘Sinn Féin is convinced that a lasting solution to the conflict can only be reached through dialogue, respect for the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis, and on the basis of the establishment of two states living at peace with each other.

‘Such an approach requires all sides to work towards the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign, safe, democratic and viable state.

‘It is also essential that the Israeli Government  immediately dismantle the 'wall of separation', notably around East Jerusalem, and to immediately halt the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements, in particular the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, which threatens to complete the encirclement of Jerusalem by Israeli settlements, dividing the West Bank into two separate geographical areas.

‘If the European Union wants to play a positive role in the region it must focus on assisting the realisation of the democratic aspirations of Palestinian society and their legitimate demand for a just and lasting peace.’ ENDS

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