Japan Welcomes the Release of an Israeli Solider

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Japan today welcomed the agreement reached between Israel and Hamas, on October 12, on the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israel soldier, who has been under captivity of the Palestinian militant group since 2006, and of the Palestinians who have been held by Israel.

A statement by Japan's foreign Ministry said Japan values the efforts for the release by the international community and hopes that this decision will be implemented in a prompt manner. .

The statement said that the government of Japan hopes that this agreement will contribute to the confidence-building between the parties concerned and will lead to the early resumption of the direct negotiations between both parties.

Japan, together with the international community, will continue to make efforts with a view to realizing the peace in the Middle East, according to the statement.

Speaking during an emergency session of his cabinet Tuesday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said an agreement with Hamas had been reached and that Shalit would be returning home "in the coming days." Netanyahu said there was a window of opportunity to release Shalit which he said the government decided to seize.

Hamas' officials in the Gaza Strip and abroad have confirmed the conclusion of a swap agreement with Israel.

In Damascus, Hamas' leader Khaled Mishaal revealed details of the long-awaited deal. He told a news conference in the Syrian capital that the swap deal stipulated the release of a thousand male prisoners as well as 27 female prisoners.

Mishaal added that the deal would be carried out in two stages, first the transfer of Shalit outside the Gaza Strip, which would coincide with the release of 450 Palestinian prisoners, and second the release of the rest of the prisoners once Shalit returns to Israel.

Mishaal saluted the people of Gaza "for their sacrifices" and also thanked Egypt, Turkey, Syria and Germany for their positive roles in concluding the deal.

Photo: Gilad Shalit

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