Report: German Mediator Has Not Arrived in Egypt for Shalit Swap Talks

Palestinian sources tell Al-Hayat that Gerhard Conrad has finished his role as mediator for Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange deal and will not return to Egypt.

German mediator Gerhard Conrad has not arrived in Egypt for talks on a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, Israel Radio quoted Al-Hayat newspaper as saying Wednesday, contradicting previous media reports.

An Egyptian source told the London-based Al-Hayat that previous reports on Conrad's visit were erroneous.

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006

Palestinian sources said that Conrad has completed his role as mediator in the talks, and that he will not return to Egypt.

On Tuesday, a German news agency reported that Conrad had landed in Cairo on Monday for a clandestine visit of several days, during which he was slated to meet with several Egyptian officials in an attempt to restart talks regarding a deal between Israel and Hamas, which would free captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

Egyptian sources claimed that Hamas leaders were scheduled to arrive in Cairo in the next days in order to advance Palestinians reconciliation talks.

The developments come on the heels of an Al-Hayat report last month on the progress of talks in light of Israeli flexibility regarding the number of prisoners it is demands to expel in order to secure Shalit's release. Moreover, prisoners reportedly have information according to which Israel will no longer veto the release of Israeli Arab and Jerusalem Palestinian security prisoners, a move which may advance negotiations.

Hamas had expressed reservations regarding Conrad, claiming that he supported the Israeli position, and demanded that Egyptian mediators must remain in the picture.