RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - A senior Palestinian official says Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is undermining hopes for peace and democracy in the Middle East.

Saeb Erekat, a top aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, rejected Romney's recent video remark to donors that the Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever" in peace.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Erekat said "no one stands to gain more from peace than the Palestinians, and no one stands to lose from the absence of peace like the Palestinians."

He said those who tolerated Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian territories are "working against democracy and peace."

Erekat also urged world leaders to "create hope and opportunities, not despair."

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