'Gov't responsible for freeing Schalit'

After meeting with UN's Ban, Livni says Israel must remind int'l community Hamas still holds soldier.

January 15, 2009 13:41
'Gov't responsible for freeing Schalit'

livni ban ki-moon 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP)


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Securing captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit's release is the responsibility of the Israeli government, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday, during a press conference with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. When asked whether the soldier's release should be part of a cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza, Livni said that it was Israel's responsibility to constantly "remind the international community… of the fact that Hamas is holding Gilad Schalit captive, the fact that they haven't allowed anyone to visit him." She noted that she had discussed the captured soldier with Red Cross President Jacob Kellenberger, who she met with earlier Thursday. "Hamas completely prevents access to Gilad Shalit and doesn't permit an assessment of his condition. Currently, and primarily because of your visit, Hamas should again feel pressured by you to allow access to him," Livni said to Kellenberger. Kellenberger was visiting Israel to monitor the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. Ban also mentioned Schalit in comments he made earlier in the press conference. Livni stressed that the issue had been on the government's agenda since the day Schalit was captured, and said securing his release was "first and foremost, the responsibility of the Israeli government."

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