I am not entirely sure how to respond to that. [Laughter.] Unfortunately, I am not one of those people.
The British government have consistently made it clear that Hamas came to power as a result of free and fair elections and that, as a consequence, it has a democratic mandate. However, those who take part in the democratic process must play by the rules of democracy. Democracy is about more than elections: it is about assuming the responsibilities of government. We expect the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority to assume their prime responsibility to the Palestinian people by working actively towards a lasting peace with the state of Israel. Peace remains indispensable for the creation of the vibrant, fully functioning Palestine that we all want to help to develop.
The way towards that is set out in the road map, endorsed in 2003 by both the Israeli and Palestinian Governments of the day. It sets out clear steps to be taken by both sides and the international community, culminating in the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. We and our international partners are profoundly attached to that vision, and we regard it as the best possible means of achieving the two-state solution.
However, we cannot advance the agenda for peace—the road map—as long as one party refuses to recognise the other. It is essential that the Hamas-led Government commit themselves to non-violence, recognise Israel, and accept previous agreements and obligations, including the road map. Those are the principles set out by the Quartet on
We naturally welcome the process of national dialogue launched by President Abbas on