"You created the foundation of the agreement"

President Shimon Peres met this morning with the German mediator who was instrumental in facilitating the agreement to free Gilad Shalit. He was joined by senior members of Germany's security establishment and government. The President used the opportunity to thank German Chancellor Angela Merkel for Germany's invaluable assistance in bringing Shalit home. President Peres asked to extend his thanks to the German Chancellor for the backing and support of Germany throughout this whole long process. "Chancellor Merkel, in her actions, proves the deep friendship and strategic relationship between our two countries."

The German mediator was touched by the compliments and said: "I am deeply honored to be your guest in your office but I am humbled by the compliments. Both sides had to make difficult decisions and I am happy that they were able to decide. In the end it was a very tough challenge, sometimes demanding, sometimes frustrating but I am excited and satisfied that we can see Gilad return to his home."

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