Israel-Hamas prisoner swap positive step: UN chief
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Last Updated: Monday, October 17, 2011, 23:13
United Nations: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the recent announcement by Israel and Palestinian group Hamas to exchange prisoners as a "welcome" step that would help generate positive momentum in the ongoing efforts to resolve the Middle East conflict.

Describing the announcement as "very welcome", Ban said he "sincerely hopes that this will give some positive momentum for their relationship for peace and security. And I am going to continue to work towards that direction."

Israel and Hamas announced last week that they had agreed that Hamas would release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive since June 2006, and Israel would release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Media reports indicate that the exchange could begin this week.

Ban was speaking to the press after a meeting with Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey in Bern, Switzerland. He is travelling to Geneva for the second leg of his visit to the European country.


First Published: Monday, October 17, 2011, 23:13

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