Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Netanyahu confirms: Shalit talks renewed

Prime minister verifies recent reports suggesting negotiations meant to secure Hamas-held soldier's release have been resumed

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Sunday reports that the negotiations to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit have been renewed.


"There have been renewed talks with the German mediator's involvement," the prime minister said in an Army Radio interview. "Efforts are ongoing in many directions, the majority of which is left undisclosed – at they should be."


Netanyahu further qualified, telling his interviewer: "You see the headlines. We don't see them because we are working on Gilad's issue on a daily basis. We are constantly trying to find various new ways to secure his return.


"One of these ways – the main avenue – is the negotiations, which indeed have been renewed several weeks ago."


Still, he continued, "I don't think the talks would benefit from being conducted over the airwaves, even if this is Army Radio's 60th anniversary. There has been renewed contact with the German mediator, who asked to become involved when I took office," Netanyahu concluded.


Meanwhile, the Shalit family, joined by some 200 people have gathered and are protesting near Kibbutz Degania, where the government is set to hold a special meeting lated today, to mark 100 years of the Kibbutz Movement.


The protestors are carrying signs reading: "Winter session and you're sleeping" and "Captive? Go find your friends".


Noam Shalit, the captive soldier's father, said Netanyahu's comments were "nonsense," adding that the prime minister's remarks were made only to "ease public pressure."


Hamas refused to acknowledge previous statements made by Deputy Hamas Politburo Chief, Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk about the talks. A senior Hamas members told Ynet Sunday that the talks are deadlocked and have been for nearly a year.


"The Israelis have reneged on the understandings reached with the help of the German mediator. Our demands stand as they are, and as far as we know, Israel's position – which ended the last round of talks – has not changed.


"As far as we are concerned we are still at an impasse, unless Israel announces it accepts all of our demands," said the source.


At that time, he added, "not only would progress be made, but the talks could materialize (into a deal). Israel has a decision to make and it is Israel that is holding up the talks." Hamas, he concluded, "May decide to present a new set of demands if Israel continues in its pertinacity."



Ali Waked contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 10.17.10, 08:45
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