Suleiman meets with Hamas on Shalit

US National Intelligence Director also in Cairo; Haniyeh: Deal "almost closed."

October 30, 2006 14:50
1 minute read.
Suleiman meets with Hamas on Shalit

Gilad Shalit 298 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Head of Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman was met Tuesday evening with members of a Hamas delegation on a possible prisoner exchange deal that would allow for the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit. The Hamas delegation from Syria arrived in Cairo Tuesday afternoon, a day after US National Intelligence Director John Negroponte arrived for a two-day visit, officials at Cairo International Airport said. US embassy officials declined to comment on Negroponte's visit, which coincided with that by Hamas officials who also arrived in Egypt Monday. On Monday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told his cabinet that "a deal to secure the release of Shalit [was] almost closed." Former PA security commander Jibril Rajoub, who serves as an adviser to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was also due in Cairo for meetings with the Hamas delegation on solving the crisis in the Palestinian territories. Meanwhile, Hamas representative in Lebanon Osama Hamdan said that Israel had not yet agreed to the kidnappers' demands but that there were "positive signs." "If Egyptian mediation fails, Hamas will still try to solve the issue but won't change its demands," Hamdan told BBC Arabic. He said that the delegation in Cairo would try to "clarify the Israeli stance on the issue." PA spokesman Ghazi Hamed said that Israel was being "stubborn" but that the general framework of a prisoner swap deal had been agreed upon "Israel has agreed in principle to a prisoner exchange but we need more time to discuss the names of the Palestinians that would be freed," said Hamed.

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