The German mediator in talks on the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Gerhard Conrad, is optimistic and plans to continue his efforts until the end of 2010, the Jerusalem-based Al-Manar reported Monday.
The report, which says Conrad received "encouraging sigs from Hamas" during his visit to the region, has not been confirmed by official sources.
Egyptian diplomats told the paper that the mediator has told officials in Cairo he plans to offer new ideas for the negotiations in the near future, which he will present to both sides.
The sources were quoted as saying that although the US and other regional elements are opposed to an agreement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is interested in sealing the deal in order to "make time for more important and complex issues".
On Saturday Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, announced that the mediator visited Gaza two weeks ago and met with senior officials there after holding talks on the matter with Israel.
Netanyahu confirmed the report, but Noam Shalit, the soldier's father, called it "nonsense", explaining that the prime minister was trying to relieve pressure placed on him.
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