Barnier 'ready' for Mideast return for hostages

7th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

SKOPJE, Sept 7 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said he was ready to return to Jordan "at any moment" to help free two French journalists held hostage by Islamists in Iraq.

SKOPJE, Sept 7 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said he was ready to return to Jordan "at any moment" to help free two French journalists held hostage by Islamists in Iraq.  

"I'm ready to go to Amman at any moment if it is necessary... We are continuing to work in the same manner, with a lot of will-power but also prudence to obtain their liberation," Barnier said on Tuesday during a visit to Macedonia.  

A statement purportedly from the Islamic Army of Iraq posted on an Islamist website on Monday gave France 48 hours to accept three new conditions for the release of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot: agreeing to a recent truce offer by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, payment of USD 5 million ransom and a pledge not to get involved in Iraq.  

Chesnot, 37, of Radio France Internationale, Malbrunot, 41, of the daily Le Figaro and their Syrian driver were taken hostage on August 20.  

Barnier went on a mission to the Middle East to secure their release last week but returned to Paris on Saturday with no news of any release.  

Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva, who held talks with Barnier during his brief visit here, said Skopje was still working for the release of three Macedonians taken hostage in Iraq on August 23.

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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