Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange welcomed by UN chief

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) gives a statement on the Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange taking place today.

The prisoner exchange between Israelis and Palestinians on Tuesday has been welcomed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been released by the Palestinian movement Hamas and 477 Palestinians by Israeli authorities.

Under a deal between Israel and Hamas another group of 550 Palestinians are to be released next month.

The Secretary-General told a reporter, before leaving Switzerland at end of his visit to the country, that he was encouraged by the prisoner exchange following years of negotiations.

Martin Nesirky is the spokesman for the Secretary-General.

"The Secretary-General noted that the United Nations had been calling for the release of Gilad Shalit and of all Palestinian prisoners. He expressed his sincere hope that today's release would have a far-reaching and positive impact on the stalled Middle East peace process. The Secretary-General reiterated his hope that, based on the Quartet statement that was issued on September 23, the two parties will return to negotiations so that they will be able to realize the vision of two States, Israeli and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."

The Quartet is made up of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States.

(Duration: 29")

Israeli-Palestinian prisoner exchange a 'humanitarian breakthrough' – Ban

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