France welcomes Kadima's lead in Israeli elections

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy welcomed Wednesday the apparent victory of acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party in parliamentary elections, calling it "good news for peace." Douste-Blazy, speaking on LCI television, said that while Olmert is "a man of unilateral policies, ... he has always wanted to recognize the existence of two peoples, two states that live in security and peace one next to the other. This is good news for peace." Speaking to reporters later, Douste-Blazy said the world community cannot let up its support for the Palestinian people. "We must work towards the economic development of Gaza and the West bank because it would be a major political error" not to do so, Douste-Blazy said. "If there is no plan for the 50 to 100 percent of young people who are unemployed in Gaza, there will never, never be peace." He said the international community should demand that Hamas recognize Israel but also ask Israel to recognize the so-called road map for peace and not to impose policies on the Palestinians.