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White House: Obama pleased that Israeli soldier released

Reuters

October 18, 2011 | 1:19 pm

Gilad Shalit walks with his father Noam, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak at Tel Nof air base in central Israel in this handout released by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Oct. 18. Photo by REUTERS/PMO/Handout

Gilad Shalit walks with his father Noam, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak at Tel Nof air base in central Israel in this handout released by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Oct. 18. Photo by REUTERS/PMO/Handout

U.S. President Barack Obama is pleased that Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been freed and wants Israelis and Palestinians to take steps toward resuming peace negotiations, the White House said on Tuesday.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters during the president’s bus tour in North Carolina that it was not yet clear how Shalit’s release would impact the Middle East peace process but said Obama was “personally pleased” by the development.

“Each side needs to take steps that make it easier to return to negotiations rather than harder,” Carney said.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Will Dunham

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