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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 17:03 GMT
In quotes: Reaction to Palestinian poll
Political leaders in the Middle East and abroad have been giving a cautious welcome to Mahmoud Abbas's apparent victory in the Palestinian presidential election. Here are some key quotes.

The main focus at this stage, following [Sunday's] election, should be Palestinian action on terror.

The Palestinians are still not fighting terror and while [Mr Abbas's] declarations in the framework of the election campaign were encouraging, he will be tested by the way he battles terror and acts to dismantle its infrastructure.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Abu Mazen is a promising leader and that's why everyone is quite happy that he was elected as chairman of the Palestinian Authority. Now it's time for him to prove that the expectations are valid.

[He must] fight terror. Simple as that. This is the main, fundamental expectation that comes from every corner in the world.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

I offer my congratulations to Abu Mazen. I look forward to talking to him at the appropriate time. I look forward to welcoming him to Washington if he chooses to come here.

The United States stands ready to help the Palestinian people realise their aspirations.

The new Palestinian president and his cabinet face critical tasks ahead including fighting terrorism, combating corruption, building reformed and democratic institutions and reviving the Palestinian economy.

US President George Bush

We would like to congratulate Abu Mazen. We respect the Palestinian people's choice and will...

We must reach agreement on the formulation of the future policies that will redress the Palestinian domestic state of affairs and from there we will proceed together united to confront the dangers that engulf us and target every Palestinian.

Sheikh Hasan Yusuf, Hamas official

My impression is very positive. I think that given the conditions in which the elections are taking place, it is a great success. The people of Palestine can be proud of what they have done. There is no doubt that today is a very important embracement of democracy by doing the most important thing - which is to vote.

European foreign policy chief Javier Solana

It is a very important step towards the creation of a viable and democratic Palestinian state. All sides concerned must now work together to ensure peace in the region.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

It is up to you now to put Palestine on the path to peace with Israel. You represent, for all Palestinians, a hope for a settlement based upon dialogue and justice. I am convinced that all your fellow citizens, and also the other people in the region, can count on your legitimacy and your experience to move in a direction of wisdom and openness.

French President Jacques Chirac

I would wish to warmly congratulate Mahmoud Abbas on his election as Palestinian Authority president. The Palestinian people have already demonstrated their commitment to democracy.

The challenge now is for the new president to use his mandate to lay the foundations for a future Palestinian state that we want to see emerge in the context of a final settlement. There is a great deal of work to do in support of the new administration. We will be in the forefront of that work.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

Mr Abbas will be an uncompromising partner but he is a wise man, experienced and moderate... He was chosen by the vast majority of Palestinians and we should give him the chance to succeed.

A new process will begin. An important change has taken place and I hope that the new Palestinian leadership is a reflection of change in the Palestinian street.

Israeli Labour leader Shimon Peres

The Palestinian leadership will have to be brave. It will have to renounce the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the dream of Israel's destruction. The Palestinian leadership should also stop being corrupt and dismantle terrorist organisations.

Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Preliminary results ... in our view prove that the Palestinians have made a clear choice in favour of a political settlement of relations with Israel on the basis of international law which stipulates the lifting of the occupation of Palestinian territories and the creation of an independent Palestinian state, coexisting in peace and accord with Israel.

Russian foreign ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko

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