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Sharon Vows to Hinder Palestinian Elections if Hamas Runs

17 September 2005

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says his government will make every effort to impede upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections if the militant group Hamas is allowed to participate.

Speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. summit in New York Friday, Mr. Sharon told reporters that Israel would not lift roadblocks in the West Bank or take other measures to smooth the way for the January vote, saying he believes the Palestinians cannot hold the elections without Israel's help.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat urged Israel not to interfere. He warned such action could strengthen support for Hamas, and harm Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is trying to restore law and order.

Meanwhile, Palestinian construction crews worked to seal holes in the giant border fence used by Palestinians to enter Egypt for shopping and visits this week, as Palestinian police tried to reimpose order at the Gaza-Egypt border.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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