Gaza Live Blog
Gaza - Oct 18, 2011 - 20:53
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed the release of Franco-Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners as a "significant humanitarian breakthrough".
The UN chief on Tuesday "welcomed the recent prisoner exchange agreement and views today's releases as a significant humanitarian breakthrough," said Ban spokesman Martin Nesirky.
"He has long called for the end of the unacceptable captivity of Gilad Shalit and has also called for the release of Palestinian prisoners," and for years UN officials have "actively supported channels of dialogue to resolve this issue."
The UN leader now hopes "that more far-reaching steps will be taken to end the closure of Gaza and enable reconstruction".
Ban "continues to call in the same context for an end to the smuggling of weapons and a sustained calm between Israel andGaza," Nesirky said.