Cautious optimism for release of Shalit

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

From the moment Israel received the handwritten letter from Gilad Shalit saying he is in good condition and he hopes to return in time for his next birthday, the efforts to seal a deal for his release were accelerated. The letter is the first sign of life from the kidnapped soldier, who has been in captivity for almost three months.

Egypt is attempting to bring about his release as early as next week. With that, Israel has agreed to the principle of releasing prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s freedom, however the exact numbers and the layout of the deal are still being discussed.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit met with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and expressed his optimism that the ordeal could be over within a few days. “We will bring him back,” he said.

Livni also met with Abu Mazen and asked him to accelerate the efforts to release Shalit. “This is a critical issue for us,” she told the Palestinian President.

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