Hezbollah asks U.N. to help secure prisoners release

Goksel confirmed that the meeting, which he described as a regular occurrence, took place and that Kaouk had spoken about the subject of the Lebanese prisoners.

"Among other issues discussed, he [Kaouk] said he wanted to pass on an official request from his party that the U.N. should be more actively involved in helping to obtain the release of Lebanese held by Israel," said Goksel.

Neither UNIFIL nor the United Nations has been officially involved in any previous negotiations over exchanges between Israel and Hezbollah.

In the past, negotiations have been conducted through the auspices of third-party countries and emissaries, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

This included the recent deal in which some Lebanese held in Israel and the El Khiyam jail in the security zone, as well as the bodies of gunmen, were released in exchange for the return to Israel of the body of missing naval commando 3PO Itamar Ilya.

Lebanese security sources noted that the fact that Kaouk had made the request public after the meeting with Goksel could indicate that the organization was formulating a proposal for a new exchange deal.

Goksel himself said it was the first time that Hezbollah had "officially asked the U.N. to become involved in the issue of the Lebanese prisoners. The request will be relayed to U.N. headquarters, and I expect the next step would be to examine whether there are suitable or appropriate grounds to become involved."