Israel denying reports of imminent Shalit deal

Monday, January 01, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Political sources in Israel have denied the reports in the Arab media from Sunday that a breakthrough in negotiations about a deal to release Cpl. Gilad Shalit was imminent.

The sources said that the contacts are ongoing and progress is being made, but there is no room for euphoria regarding a breakthrough which will happen within days. In addition, the sources denied receiving a video tape from the captors showing Shalit alive, as was reported in an Arab newspaper in Dubai Sunday. The sources also denied that the negotiations will be concluded during the meeting between Prime Minister Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Thursday in Sharm al-Sheikh.

Prime Minister Olmert called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday and wished him a happy holiday of Eid ul-Adha celebrated this week. The two agreed to continue and advance the issues which were discussed during the last meeting between the two leaders a few weeks ago.

Defense Minister Amir Peretz called Jordanian King Abdullah II and wished him a happy holiday as well. The two spoke about the current situation in the region and the prospects of peace and stability in the area. Defense Minister Peretz praised Jordan for its role in the Middle East and its contribution to peace in the area.

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