Israel has 2-3 weeks to approve Hamas swap deal: Abbas

Egypt and Germany are mediating the prisoner exchange, which would set free nearly 1,000 of the 11,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

Israel has 2-3 weeks to approve Hamas swap deal: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published on Saturday, the German mediator in the prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel has given Israel two to three weeks to approve a prisoner swap deal.

Mahmoud Abbas told the Egyptian state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper that the German negotiator, whose identity remains secret, had set a timeline of "two or three weeks" to agree to the swap.

Egypt and Germany are mediating the prisoner exchange, which would set free nearly 1,000 of the 11,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

Asked about the state of the deal, Abbas said: "This issue is between Hamas and Israel. And Egypt plays a large role. And the German mediator has entered recently."

"I learned from Israel, and not from anyone else, that the German mediator gave a specified period, and if the exchange deal was not resolved, he would stop negotiations between the two sides."

Asked how long, he said: "Two or three weeks."

A Hamas source told Ynet that the German mediator blames Israel for delaying the deal.

"Every time the deal comes close to being completed, Israel starts withdrawing and biding time in order to postpone agreements," he said.

Abbas also mentioned top Egyptian mediator, Chief of Intelligence Omar Suleiman, as being instrumental in talks. He is to visit Israel on Sunday.

Israeli media have quoted local officials as saying Suleiman's visit was not directly connected with the prisoner swap but that the issue could also be discussed.

In September, Israel released 20 Palestinian female prisoners in exchange for a video clip proving that Shalit was still alive.



Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Aralık 2009, 14:07
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