EU urges Shalit's immediate, unconditional release

The EU urged the Palestinian leadership Wednesday to ensure the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held hostage by terrorists. Austria holds the rotating EU presidency and it issued a statement calling for the soldier's "immediate and unconditional release." It urged "the Palestinian leadership to undertake all necessary efforts in this regard." In the statement, the EU also urged all parties to show restraint and to "avoid further escalation." "Hopes for a resumption of a political dialogue after the recent positive signals, including the meeting between Prime Minister (Ehud) Olmert and President (Mahmoud) Abbas, must not be put at risk," it said.