Egypt: Israel-Hizbullah prisoners exchange deal in works
Senior government officials tell Al-Ahram newspaper deal for release of kidnapped IDF troops, Lebanese prisoners through German mediation may be struck within two-three weeks; officials say deal with Palestinians for release of Gilad Shalit also attainable
Top Egyptian government officials said in an Al-Ahram newspaper article published on Sunday that an Israel-Hizbullah prisoners exchange deal is being formulated through German mediation.
The sources said the deal may be struck within two or three weeks time, adding that German mediators are currently working on the deal’s general framework.
According to the report, the deal may be implemented after Hizbullah agrees to release kidnapped IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser prior to the release of Lebanese prisoners being held by Israel the following day.
The officials said that another deal between Israel and the Palestinians, which would include the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, is also attainable, but stressed that such a deal would probably have to wait until the prisoners exchange deal with Hizbullah is finalized.
The sources told the newspaper that Egypt is working tirelessly to create a new framework for a regional peace process and that the results of these efforts will be made public by the end of the year.
Livni to meet German chancellor
The Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border was reopened over the weekend, and some 4,000 people have passed through it so far.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is set to leave for Germany on Sunday, where she is scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss UN Resolution 1701; Foreign Ministry officials said that during her brief visit Livni is also expected to raise the issue of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.
The foreign minister is also expected to meet with the 25 Bundestag members considered to be supporters of Israel. Livni will also lay a wreath at the Berlin train station’s platform 17, from which the city’s Jews were sent to the concentration camps.
Ronny Sofer contributed to the report