Egypt's foreign minister urged Israel on Friday to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in 2006.
Egypt has been mediating a prisoner swap and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Israel needs to show flexibility.
A year ago, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar accused Israel of going back on a promise to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Cpl. Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas-allied gunmen in a cross-border raid near the Gaza border in 2006.
"If you want a soldier, if you need a certain commodity and you are ready to pay in that commodity then pay for the sake of the soldier - give the Palestinians what they are after," Aboul Gheit said in an interview with the Associated Press on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
"I think what they are after (is) 1,000 prisoners that would be exchagned for the sake of the soldier Shalit," he said.
"I would encourage people to do (it)," Aboul Gheit said. "Why not? What is wrong? Give them the thousand and take your soldiers and give him back to his family and his people and let the family enjoy having him back."