Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed on Tuesday that there was “a grain of truth” to reports of renewed negotiations taking place in Cairo for a prisoner swap deal to secure the release of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
Barak told Israel’s 103 FM, however, that despite the validity of the rumors he “preferred not to say anything [about the negotiations], because it doesn’t help.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported that Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal was due to arrive in Cairo to begin a third round of indirect talks with Israel over a prisoner swap deal.
The report quoted Palestinian sources saying that the Israeli negotiators were showing willingness to compromise, especially over issues such as releasing jailed Israeli Arabs and East Jerusalem residents. Sources also said an agreement has been reached over the number of prisoners who would be deported from the West Bank after their release.
This story "Barak Confirms 'Grain of Truth' in Shalit Talks Report" was written by Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel (Haaretz).