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France's ambassador to Israel, Christophe Bigot, met yesterday with the parents of Gilad Shalit and presented them with a letter in which French President Nicolas Sarkozy directly addressed the soldier, who has been in Hamas captivity since his abduction five years ago.

"Dear Gilad," Sarkozy wrote, ""Since your kidnapping, I have taken it on myself to do everything to return you to your family. I repeated this commitment when I met with your father at the Elysee Palace on June 10, and I repeat it now: France will not abandon you to your fate and will continue to act, along with other bodies, including those in the Arab world, so that this unjustified suffering comes to an end."

Shalit holds dual Israeli and French citizenship.

In the letter Sarkozy also called on Hamas to release Shalit and to accept the deal proposed by German and Egyptian mediators.

"It is time that those responsible for your detention make a decision and end your intolerable and outrageous imprisonment," Sarkozy wrote.

Sarkozy also stated in the letter that Hamas was violating international law by holding Shalit. "I cannot accept that you are forbidden from simple communication with your relatives and from receiving messages from them in return, as if a simple exchange of messages would be a sign of weakness on the part of those who hold you," Sarkozy wrote. "I urge those who are imprisoning you to immediately permit the Red Cross to meet with you, and more than that - to return you to freedom."