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Haniyah Calls For Dialogue To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Ismail Haniyah (file photo) (epa) March 27, 2006 -- Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyah is calling for renewed dialogue with international mediators to try to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Haniyah, in a speech to Palestinian legislators, said his future government is ready to work with the Middle East Quartet -- which comprises the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations -- to bring peace and stability to the region.

"Our government will be ready for a dialogue with the Quartet to look into all ways to end the state of struggle and achieve calm in the region," he said. "Our people are in need more than any other nation in the world for peace, for security, and stability. Our government will not spare any effort to achieve a just peace in the region."

But the Hamas leader says his government will continue to support what he called the Palestinians' right to defend themselves in the face of occupation. He said Western economic pressure against Hamas will not work.

The Middle East Quartet has called on Hamas to renounce violence and accept past agreements with Israel or face the loss of financial aid.

Haniyah and his cabinet are due to be sworn in on March 29, the day after parliamentary elections in Israel.

(AFP, Reuters)