Omar Suleiman, Egypt's Intelligence Chief, arrived in Israel on
Wednesday for talks with Israeli officials over a prisoner swap deal
that would see the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit in return
of releasing Palestinian detainees imprisoned by Israel. Suleiman met
on Wednesday afternoon with Israel's Defense Minister, Amir Peretz.
On Wednesday afternoon Suleiman met Amir Peretz and discussed the issued of prisoner swap combined with a diplomatic process, Israel's Ynetnews reported.
Peretz said that he has no doubt the Suleiman contributes to stability in the Middle East and made positive contributions to the promotion of “relations between moderate forces in the region”, the Ynetnews added.
Suleiman has been holding talks over the past four months with officials in the Palestinian government, and Hamas's politburo chief in Syria Khaled Mashal.
That talks achieved some positive results, but Israel insists on preconditions regarding the release of Palestinian detainees, Suleiman is expected to ask Israel to be more flexible in this issue.
Also, Israeli officials said that one of the Israeli concerns is the issue of arms smuggling from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, since Israel believes that Palestinian armed groups will use the calm period in order to regroup and rearm.
Suleiman is expected to meet on Wednesday afternoon with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, along with Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and National Infrastructure Minister Benyamin Ben-Eliezer.
The Israeli Radio reported that talks between Suleiman and Olmert will focus on the prisoner swap deal and ceasefire between the Palestinians and Israel.
On Thursday, the U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to arrive in the region and hold talks in Jericho with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. The talks will focus on ceasefire and calm.