JERUSALEM, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Sources of the Israeli government have
denied that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had reachedan agreement with the
Palestinians on the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Army Radio
reported on Friday.
Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told Israel's Channel
One on Thursday that a framework agreement had been reached on a prisoner swap
involving Shalit and Palestinians held in Israeli jails, adding the two sides
still need to work outdetails of the agreement.
"We agreed recently on a framework with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to solve
the problem of Shalit, in agreement with the Egyptians, and this process is
happening quickly," Abbas said.
"I hope his release will come quickly. I believe now it is accepted and
everybody is working toward that," he said.
However, Knesset (parliament) member Ahmed Tibi, who met with Abbas
Thursday evening in Ramallah, told Army Radio on Friday thata deal on Shalit's
release did not seem to be imminent.
According to a Yedioth Ahronoth report on Thursday, a senior Palestinian
source involved in negotiations for the release of thekidnapped soldier said
that the coming days could bring about a breakthrough in the Shalit issue.
Abbas would arrive in Gaza over the weekend, during which he isexpected to
deal with the Shalit issue, the source said.
The source added that the key was now in Israel's hands, sayingthat without
the release of senior Palestinians prisoners jailed in Israel for life sentences
over the murder of Israelis, there would be no deal.
Shalit was abducted by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid last