Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated on Monday, after his cabinet approved the prisoner swap deal with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party, that talks on the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was captured by Palestinian fighters in Gaza, will continue until he is freed.

Also, Olmert said during a meeting for his Kadima parliamentarian block that the talks would be long and would require “painful decisions”.

He added that he held talks with the Egyptian Intelligence Chief, Omar Suleiman, as both leaders discussed a swap deal which is being formulated.

Commenting on the swap deal with Hezbollah, Olmert said that in spite of the criticisms against him, he decided to support the deal in order to bring the two soldiers captured by the group back home.  

Olmert added that a failure in achieving this deal would mean that Hezbollah would stop all talks with Israel for many years and this in return means that the two soldiers, who are presumed dead, would not be brought home.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during a session for the parliamentarian bloc of the Labor party, that “Israel has the moral responsibility to bring the troops back home even if they are dead”.

Barak added that the current truce in Gaza, would provide a breakthrough in talks for the release of Gilad Shalit.