Berlin encourages Germans in Iraq to get out

21st December 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 December 2005, COLOGNE/BERLIN - Berlin called Tuesday on Germans in Iraq to leave the country as soon as possible following the release of the German aid worker and archaeologist Susanne Osthoff.

21 December 2005

COLOGNE/BERLIN - Berlin called Tuesday on Germans in Iraq to leave the country as soon as possible following the release of the German aid worker and archaeologist Susanne Osthoff.

While Germany's Central Council of Moslems said Osthoff, who was released Sunday after being taken hostage in Iraq should continue her work in Iraq, a spokesman for Germany's Foreign Office said he expected the 43-year-old to leave Iraq shortly.

In the meantime, the Foreign Office reaffirmed its travel warning for Iraq and called on the around 100 Germans currently living in the country to depart.

A German foreign office minister, Gernot Erler told North German Radio (NDR) that those remaining in the country faced the constant threat of violent assault and the risk of kidnapping, which may not turn out as well as the Osthoff case.

Osthoff has, however, still not made public her plans for the future nor have officials released any details of her kidnapping and subsequent release or whether a ransom was paid to the hostage talkers.

She has also not indicated when or if she intends to return to Germany.

But in an interview with Cologne's daily Koelner Stadt Anzeigner, the chairman of Germany's Central Council of Moslems, Nadeem Elyas, said she should continue her work in Iraq.

"In any case she should not simply give up her life's work due to an act of terror," Elyas said.

Osthoff, who had converted to Islam and speaks fluent Arabic, was living in Iraq at the time of her kidnapping.

Her kidnappers had initially called on Germany to end its efforts to help rebuild Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. But according to German press reports, Osthoff may have been sold on to another group during the course of her captivity.

© DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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