German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle expressed happiness and relief at the news that Gilad Schalit was released and reunited with his family on Tuesday.
"I am relieved that Gilad is finally free and can hug his family once again after more than five years," Westerwelle said in a statement. "His fate excited all of Israel, and us as well. Now we are happy with him and his family with all our hearts."
The German foreign minister added that he is content with Germany's role in helping to secure the deal for Schalit's release.
However, "Gilad Schalit's release and the prisoner exchange deal must be used as an opportunity to restart the peace process in the Middle East," he said.
Praising the so-called Quartet's recent efforts at restarting negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Westerwelle called for renewed talks between the two sides in the coming days.