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Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan welcome unity deal

April 24, 2014 4:02 P.M. (Updated: April 26, 2014 8:07 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former US president Jimmy Carter and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday welcomed the reconciliation agreement signed a day earlier between Hamas and the PLO.

"Palestinian reconciliation should not be seen as undermining prospects for a negotiated two-state solution," Kofi Annan said in a statement released by The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace.

"On the contrary, any lasting peace with Israel will have to be predicated on a peace agreement with a unified and democratic Palestinian government exercising its authority in both the West Bank and Gaza."

Jimmy Carter commended the Palestinian factions for securing the agreement and urged all parties to implement it swiftly.

"Any remaining differences must be resolved peacefully. When the Palestinians elect a new leadership – provided the elections are conducted in accordance with international standards – I strongly urge the international community to respect the democratic choices of the Palestinian people," he added.

The Elders said in a statement that the rift between Hamas and Fatah made peace between Palestinians and Israelis less viable.

Israel and the United States both criticized the unity deal, saying that it threatens the peace process.
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