Ashton welcomes Schalit deal, praises int'l negotiators

EU policy chief says she expressed support of EU, int'l community to Gilad’s family; Hague: We've always called for his unconditional release.

Catherine Ashton (R) 311 (photo credit: 	 REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud)
Catherine Ashton (R) 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud)
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday welcomed a deal to return Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity.
"I warmly welcome the news that Gilad Shalit will soon be able to return home after five years of captivity putting and end to the long ordeal that he and his family have endured," she said.
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"During my visits to Israel I personally shared my concerns and expressed the support of the EU and of the international community at large to Gilad’s family," Ashton added.
She continued by paying tribute to the work of all those who worked to secure his release, and in particular the Egyptian and German negotiators.
Earlier on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague praised the deal. "Holding him [Schalit] in captivity has been utterly unjustified from the beginning and yet it has gone on for five long years," he said.
"We have always called for his unconditional release," Hague added. "We are pleased that this long overdue development is finally taking place. Mr. Schalit’s long captivity has been painful for his family and I hope that he will be reunited with them as soon as possible. The UK supports all such efforts to build confidence and trust between all parties.”
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