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
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.