The four international supporters of the Middle East peace process said Wednesday that the next Palestinian Cabinet should not include members of Hamas or other groups committed to violence.
The statement by the so-called quartet did not name Hamas, but said a future Palestinian Cabinet "should include no member who has not committed to the principles of Israel's right to exist in peace and security and an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism."
The quartet, which has drafted the Middle East road map peace plan, includes the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia.
Hamas is participating in parliamentary elections for the first time and its popularity among Palestinians has grown considerably. Opinion polls in the West Bank and Gaza show it is ahead of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' ruling Fatah party ahead of the Jan. 25 election.