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UN chief renews calls for release of Israeli soldier abducted five years ago

24 June 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called once again for the immediate release of Israeli Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Palestinian militants for the past five years, and pledged the continued support of the United Nations for efforts towards this goal.

“The Secretary-General is convinced that this issue must now be resolved,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued ahead of the fifth anniversary of Mr. Shalit’s capture on 25 June 2006.

Mr. Ban also joined the Director-General of the International Red Cross in calling on Hamas to protect the soldier’s life, treat him humanely, prove that he is alive and allow the Shalit family to have contact with their son.

The Secretary-General called on Hamas to comply with international humanitarian law, and commended the recent call from a coalition of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the humane treatment of Mr. Shalit.

“The United Nations on the ground will continue to support the conclusion of negotiation efforts to secure his release, which would also entail the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners,” the statement added.

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