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Kidnapped soldier Eldad Regev Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
Kidnapped soldier Eldad Regev Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon
 
Kidnapped soldier Ehud Goldwasser Photo: Reuters
Kidnapped soldier Ehud Goldwasser Photo: Reuters
 
 

German mediator to Hizbullah: Are soldiers alive?

Chief of German intelligence agency, Ernst Uhrlau, working for release of kidnapped soldiers, initiates contacts with terror group in bid to clarify conditions for implementing prisoner swap

Roee Nahmias
Published: 09.03.06, 13:10 / Israel News

German Intelligence Agency Chief Ernst Uhrlau on Saturday launched his mediation mission in Lebanon in a bid to release the two Israel Defense Forces soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah.

 

Qatar-based newspaper al-Watan reported that Uhrlau met with Lebanese Military Intelligence Chief George Khoury, and made contact with Hizbullah leadership in an attempt to clarify the conditions for implementing a prisoner swap.

 

The German delegate passed on to Hizbullah a series of questions. Among them: Are the two soldiers alive? How is their health? The German delegate also asked what is Hizbullah's opinion about the swap deal – will it amount to the release of Lebanese prisoners and detainees only? Or, will it include all Palestinian and Arab prisoners?

 

During the fighting in Lebanon, the legal representative of Hizbullah, Speaker of the Parliament and leader of the Shiite movement Amal, Nabih Berri, said that Hizbullah will agree to release the two prisoners in exchange for the release of "Lebanese prisoners only," but warned that if the situation changes that this stance is likely to change.

 

A few days after, following the incident in Qana, Berri announced that the position voiced earlier was already irrelevant.

 

A Lebanese official reported in this context that the head of Hizbullah were "open, quiet, and expressed a desire to cooperate with the dialogue because of their willingness to make Uhrlau's mission as easy as possible," but this was in accordance with the organization's understanding.

 

"The mediation mission has taken off, but on a small flame so that it may achieve its objectives," he said.

 

A Lebanese official following the matter added that the two IDF soldiers were not transferred to the Lebanese government and that it was not possible for Red Cross representatives to visit them before the matter "is set on the right path."

 

According to him, it is still early to talk about a deal that will include only the three Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails – Samir Kuntar, Nissim Nasser, and Yehia Skaff.

 

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