Russia's Foreign Ministry on Thursday hailed the &to=http://english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/366/16571_Palestine.html' target=_blank>Palestinian parliamentary elections as a step toward stronger democracy and urged the new parliament to respect the Mideast peace process.
Russia has "always respected and will respect the democratic choice of the Palestinian people," the ministry said in a statement.
The Islamic Hamas _ a group that has been responsible for scores of deadly attacks against Israelis and is listed as a terror organization by the United States and the European Union _ won a landslide victory in the elections.
"Naturally, it will be of fundamental significance that all participants in the Palestinian political process should be loyal to the peaceful accomplishment of the tasks of fulfilling the internationally recognized expectations of the Palestinian people," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It said the elections were "a major event along the road of further democratization of Palestinian society and the creation of the institutions of the future state."