Peretz: Abbas committed to release Shalit

"Next week we will see a turning point in relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday, following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, in which Israel agreed to transfer money to the Palestinian community. Peretz stressed, however, that there are still vital steps which have yet to be taken: "It is essential to to solve the situation in which Gilad Shalit is being held by the Hamas." "Both the international community and Abbas are committed to it," Peretz continued. "Each party understands that this will be another breakthrough that will accelerate the whole process. The time has come to resolve the crisis surrounding Shalit."