Prime Minister Olmert meets with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Suleiman
Wednesday, two discuss kidnapped soldier, weapon smuggling
Ronny Sofer Published: 11.29.06, 22:03
No breakthrough was made Wednesday evening in the meeting between Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman regarding
the release of kidnapped soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit.
Still, Olmert summed saying that the meeting was positive and very
encouraging. On Thursday Olmert is scheduled to meet with the American
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Olmert met with Suleiman in his office in Jerusalem during Suleiman's visit
for political and security talks in Israel. Earlier, Suleiman met with Defense
Minister Amir Peretz, Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, and
National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
Suleiman arrived in Israel as part of an Egyptian effort to mediate and push
for progress in the political processes between Israel and the Palestinian
During the meeting Olmert and Suleiman extensively discussed the continuing
smuggling of weapons over the Philedelphi route and the Egyptian border, the
Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire, forming a Palestinian national unity
government, and the release of Gilad Shalit.
The issue of smuggling of weapons and explosives was discussed. Israel has
demanded many times in the past that Egypt strengthen their punishment of
smugglers who use explosives against Israeli towns and the IDF.
'Egypt can do more'
According to recent reports, Egypt has been making a certain effort to
suppress the smuggling, but senior defense official in Israel say Egypt could
have done much more.
Details on their discussion of Gilad Shalit's release were not allowed to be
published, in light of the sensitivity of the subject. Nonetheless, it is no
secret that the Egyptians and especially Suleiman are deeply involved in
attempts to reach a mutual agreement on releasing captives.
On this issue, Suleiman met Saturday with Hamas' Khaled Mashaal, who has the
power to approve a deal and release Shalit. Based on the few reports
available, Suleiman's talks did not lead to any breakthrough regarding the
During the day, Suleiman met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Strategic affairs Avigdor Lieberman. This was the first meeting between the
two, and reports from Lieberman's office say it went very well. Earlier,
Lieberman met with the American mediator Elliot Abraham.
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