Ma'an News Agency
December 14, 2009 - 1:00am

President Mahmoud Abbas recently sent a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to finalize a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the captors of soldier Gilad Shalit, the Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv reported Sunday.

The report says Abbas sent the message through a third party. The president reportedly asked Netanyahu to release Hamas' prisoners in addition to Fatah's Marwan Barghouthi and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Ahmad Sa'adat.

"As president of the whole Palestinian people, I hereby ask you to complete the Shalit deal, and release prisoners as soon as possible," Abbas' message read, according to Ma'ariv.

President Abbas said on Wednesday that a potential prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas was stalled on the issue of which Palestinian prisoners would be released in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier.

"We as the Palestinian Authority are not a party in the negotiations for an exchange but, to our knowledge, there are talks between the two sides," he told reporters in Sharm Ash-Sheikh after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, according to AFP.

"They are stopping at the details and numbers of prisoners and the type of people," Hamas demands, he said, according to the agency.

Abbas is not involved in the indirect negotiations, which are mediated by Germany, with Egypt also playing a role.

Recent media reports suggest that there has been progress in the negotiations toward a deal that would include the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

The prisoners at the center of the dispute between Israel and Hamas include Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, who is seen as a possible successor to Abbas.


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