France eyes EU support for captive Israeli soldier

20th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie pledged on Thursday to seek EU intervention in the case of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Gaza militants since 2006.

During a Jerusalem meeting with the soldier's parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit, Alliot-Marie promised "to pass on a message (to the EU) that the prisoner should receive Red Cross visits."

"France is at your side to demand the release of your son," she said.

Noam Shalit, who received Alliot-Marie in the protest tent the family set up last year outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence, asked her to press the European Union to "condemn as a war crime" the detention of their son.

"Holding a hostage without access to meetings with Red Cross representatives in a war crime. We call on the European Union to condemn this situation, as they have condemned the state of Israel's human rights violations," he told AFP.

"We hope that the joint efforts of France and the international community will bear fruit."

Shalit holds dual French-Israeli citizenship. He has not been seen by outside observers or Red Cross representatives since his capture in a deadly raid along the Gaza border by Palestinian militants in June 2006.

© 2011 AFP

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