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30 Oct, 2006 10:15

Hamas leaders to Cairo on Israel prisoner swap

Hamas leaders to Cairo on Israel prisoner swap

Senior Hamas members will visit Cairo in the next few days to discuss a prisoner exchange deal with Israel, brokered by Egypt. Hamas wants the deal to include release of 1,000 named Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in a ra

Soon after the capture of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Egypt tried to arrange an exchange with Hamas, but the group rejected that offer. Exchange between Israel and the Palestinians was high on the agenda during a visit by the European Union's top diplomat to Cairo on Sunday. EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana arrived in Cairo on the last leg of his Middle East tour.

Meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, they discussed reviving the stalled Middle East peace protest and formation of a Palestinian Unity Government. Egyptian moves to broker a prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinians were also raised.

Solana said he was optimistic Palestinian political factions could soon agree formation of a unity government. Egypt said it would continue efforts to broker a deal for the release of the captured Israeli soldier and the overall peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.