29 Nov 2023 18:05

Extension of Israel-Hamas truce should be aimed at freeing all hostages - Israeli ambassador to Russia

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) - Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi has spoken in favor of extending the truce between Israel and Hamas as long as this can help release more hostages.

"If this helps achieve some objective. A truce extension should serve to have all hostages freed," Ben Zvi said at a press conference attended by relatives of Russians still held hostage by Hamas.

Seven Russian citizens are among the hostages held by Hamas, Ben Zvi said.

In reply to a remark by a journalist that the truce could be used not only for releasing hostages but also for delivering humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, Ben Zvi said, "Humanitarian aid is going all the time, there are humanitarian corridors, but sometimes humanitarian aid is one-sided. Do hostages not need humanitarian aid and Red Cross visits? I think that, after all, this mustn't be one-sided."

Asked whether Israel plans to intensify contacts with Russia for releasing hostages, Ben Zvi said, "There's no need for intensifying anything, we've been meeting with the Foreign Ministry leadership at least once every week. We speak over the phone nearly every day, and so we needn't intensify anything, we're permanently in touch with the Russian Foreign Ministry."

Israel stands ready to release more people if Hamas changes the current 3-for-1 exchange formula, Ben Zvi said.