Last updated: 17 October, 2011

UN chief hails Israel-Palestinian prisoner swap

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Monday that Israel’s plans to release 477 Palestinian security prisoners in order to secure the freedom of captive soldier Gilad Shalit marked a positive step towards peace.

“The recent announcement of the exchange of prisoners is welcome, it is a positive movement for peace,” Ban said in Bern.

The Palestinians have been “suffering for six decades, they have not been able to enjoy genuine freedom or human rights.

“The UN has been working very hard, and fully supports the process” towards peace, added the UN secretary-general.

If the swap goes to plan, it would mark the first time in 26 years that a captured soldier has been returned to the Jewish state alive.