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Report: no deal reached on release of captured Israeli soldier 2007-03-23 19:40:02
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    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 June.


Editor: Wang Yan
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