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Leadership required to rebuild Middle Eastern Peace Process

7 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Chairperson, Mary Lou McDonald MEP speaking from Strasbourg has said that the international Community need to show positive leadership in efforts to re-build the Peace Process in the Middle East and called on the EU to reconsider its approach to Hamas.

Ms McDonald's comments came after the European Parliament agreed a compromise motion on the Middle East highlighting the humanitarian catastrophe in Lebanon as resulted the conflict, the deadlock in the Peace Process and the need for a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the establishment of peace in the whole region.

Sinn Féin President Derry Adams MP is concluding a visit to Palestine and Israel at the invitation of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The humanitarian catastrophe witnessed in Lebanon with hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, damage to vital infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of people displaced has not ended with the cease-fire.

"It is clear that a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to the peace and stability of the entire region.

"The attempt to isolate and marginalize the strong mandate of Hamas, driven by an Israeli analysis of the situation, does not assist the search for a just and lasting peace. It is a mistake that makes genuine dialogue and progress less likely.

"Strong and positive leadership is required to bring the Middle East Peace Process back to the top of the international political agenda.

"However, for the EU to show its' genuine commitment to the peace process requires it to also reconsider its failure to recognise the mandate given to Hamas and the detrimental impact this is having on attempts to re-build the peace process." ENDS

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