Olmert promised me more Palestinian prisoners: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has called on Israel to release more prisoners, over and above the more than 1,000 being freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2011, 23:33 PM IST

Cairo: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas
has called on Israel to release more prisoners, over and above
the more than 1,000 being freed in exchange for Israeli
soldier Gilad Shalit, saying a pledge was made by the previous
government.

Abbas said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who resigned
in 2008, promised him that however many prisoners were set
free in an exchange with Hamas for the freedom of Shalit, the
same number or more would be released into his custody,
Egypt`s official MENA news agency reported today.

The Palestinian leader, who is on a visit to Cairo, said
he expected Olmert`s successor Benjamin Netanyahu to follow
through on the pledge.

"Olmert said: we will release the same number of
prisoners who will be set free for Shalit`s release, and
perhaps the number will be better," MENA quoted Abbas as
saying.

"Now Shalit`s case is over. We want to ask the current
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whether he is committed to
Olmert`s promise, considering it is a matter related to a
previous prime minister."

Israel last week freed 477 prisoners in the first stage
of an exchange deal that saw Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
released from more than five years of captivity in Gaza.

Under the deal, Israel is to free another 550 prisoners
within two months, but details of who will be freed in the
second group have not been finalised.

The exchange boosted Abbas`s Hamas rivals in the Gaza
Strip, which they have ruled since they ousted forces loyal to
the Palestinian president in 2007.

PTI