French President Sarkozy
Photo: AP
Gilad Shalit's father and brother
Photo: Gil Yohanan

France concerned over results of Shalit talks

French Foreign Ministry spokesman says 'it seems there has been no significant progress' in Cairo negotiations aimed at securing kidnapped soldier's return, but refuses to blame either side

France expressed concerns Tuesday over the deadlock in talks for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is also a French citizen.


French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Eric Chevallier said, "The statements we have been hearing recently are concerning, and it seems there has been no significant progress."


Chevallier expressed hopes that Egypt's efforts to advance the deal would be successful.


He refused to blame neither Israel nor Hamas for the deadlock in the talks. "It's not our job to determine who is responsible, and therefore we want give grades to either side," he said, stressing that his country was in permanent contact with Egypt on the issue.


Both sides are blaming each other since Monday night for the deadlock in the intensive negotiations in Cairo. However, the exact details of the failure of the talks, mediated by Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, are still unclear.


Hamas sources told Ynet on Monday night that the Palestinian organization refused to compromise on the prisoners it wants to see releases, and that "Israel got cold feet".


Palestinian sources also told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper that Hamas' insistence that Israel release 450 "heavy" prisoners led to the deadlock in the talks.


When it was made clear that the delegation headed by Ahmed Jabari, leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, refused to compromise, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's delegates – Ofer Dekel and Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin – decided to return to Israel.


פרסום ראשון: 03.17.09, 16:41
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