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Photo: Reuters
Kidnapped soldier Ehud Goldwasser
Photo: Reuters
Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Kidnapped soldier Eldad Regev
Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Report: First contacts made between Israel, Hizbullah
Al-Hayat reports that Germany, Red Cross mediated initial contacts between Israel and Hizbullah aiming towards agreement to end fighting in north and exchange prisoners. Hizbullah still refuses to reveal details on welfare of hostages
First contacts were made betweenIsrael and Hizbullah via German mediators and the Red Cross, it was reported Friday in the London-based pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

 

According to the report, the contacts took place Wednesday and were intended to set the stage for a prisoner exchange as part of the comprehensive solution sought between the sides to end the fighting in Lebanon.

 

Lebanese sources reported that the contacts were still at initial stages and that they were being carried out indirectly. The report noted that as of yet the talks did not include details of an agreement but rather addressed general principles on which to base a successful agreement.

 

Germany and the Red Cross were reportedly mediating the contacts, and were preparing the ground for the advance of negotiations as soon as understandings could be reached towards a comprehensive solution.

 

The article further noted that the mediators between Hizbullah and Israel did not receive any information regarding the welfare of the two IDF soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who were kidnapped by Hizbullah on July 12.

 

The mediators attempted to gain information on the welfare of the hostages, but failed to do so as Hizbullah refused to share any grain of information until negotiations progressed towards a final solution.

 

The mediators explained that Hizbullah viewed everything, including information, had a price which Israel must pay to prove the sincerity of its intentions.

 

Lebanese sources reported that Hizbullah leadership were displeased, to say the least, with the declaration a few days ago by Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh, that the two soldiers were alive and in good health.

 

The report added that according to Lebanese source, it was still to early to talk about Hizbullah’s specific demands regarding a prisoner exchange, especially on whether they would stipulate the release of Palestinian prisoners in addition to Lebanese prisoners.

 

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