Schalit plays down negotiations rumors: Only PMO knows

'Al-Hayat' newspaper quotes senior Hamas official's assertion that German mediator Gerhard Konrad visited Gaza in last two weeks.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 16, 2010 14:59
1 minute read.
Noam Schalit speaking

Noam Schalit speaking 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Noam Schalit on Saturday responded to media reports that German mediator Gerhard Konrad had gone to Gaza to negotiate for his son's release, saying that he had no knowledge of such a trip.

"The answers lies with the Prime Minister's Office," said Schalit. He added that he could not confirm or deny the report.

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Konrad, the German mediator working for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, visited Gaza two weeks ago, according to a statement by senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday.

According to the al-Hayat report, Konrad met with senior Hamas officials in Gaza to discuss a prisoner exchange, but Abu Marzouk did not reveal any of the details discussed at the meeting, except for stating that Hamas's position regarding a potential prisoner exchange has not changed.

Noam's remarks and the report of Konrad's visit came afterSchalit criticized the European Union on Sunday as not having done enough to pressure Hamas to release his son, a French citizen.

“When there is a need to pressure Israel, the European Union knows how to do that very well,” Schalit said, evincing a belief in European double-standards regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Schalit spoke after meeting briefly with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. The two men visited Noam and his wife, Aviva, at the protest tent located just outside the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence, where they exchanged pleasantries with the couple who has waited for their son’s return since he was first captured on the Gaza border in June 2006.



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