Blair urges Hamas to promote democracy, not violence

British Prime Minister &to=' target=_blank>Tony Blair said Thursday that Islamic Hamas must choose between violence and democracy following its success in the Palestinian elections.

Blair acknowledged the strong parliamentary election showing by Hamas, which the European Union regards as a terrorist organization.

"Of course, we recognize the mandate for Hamas because the people have spoken in a particular way in the Palestinian Authority," Blair told reporters during a visit to Ireland to discuss the Northern Ireland peace process with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

"But I think it is also important for Hamas to understand that there comes a point, and that point is now, following that strong showing, where they have to decide between a path of democracy or a path of violence," said Blair.

"The only way we will ever get to a solution that is good for the Palestinian people is based on democracy and peaceful coexistence between the state of Israel and an independent Palestinian state," he said.

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