Israel ignores Gaza truce effforts, insists for Shalit

Israel said on Saturday it would not agree to a ceasefire with the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip unless an Israeli soldier held by Gazans was freed.

Israel ignores Gaza truce effforts, insists for Shalit

Israel said on Saturday it would not agree to a ceasefire with the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip unless an Israeli soldier held by Gazans was freed, ignoring international efforts for peace.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said in a statement: "The prime minister's position is that Israel will not reach understandings on a truce before the release of Gilad Shalit."

Egypt is mediating a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. Israeli media reported significant headway had been achieved in the indirect talks.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza Fawzi Barhoum told Reuters that the Egyptian-mediated talks were stalled by disagreement on the duration of the ceasefire. Israel wants a permanent ceasefire while Hamas favours an 18-month truce that could be extended.

"Once this obstacle is overcome an announcement would be made," Barhoum said.

Hamas wants Israel to open all border crossings with the Gaza Strip as a condition for talks as a sign for the end of heavy blockade.

But it has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinians held in Israeli jails in exchange for Shalit.

Reuters
Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2009, 11:48
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