Chirac discusses bid to release hostages

20th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 19, 2007 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac on Thursday spoke by phone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai about efforts underway to win the release of two French aid workers held hostage by the Taliban for more than two weeks, his office said.

PARIS, April 19, 2007 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac on Thursday spoke by phone with Afghan President Hamid Karzai about efforts underway to win the release of two French aid workers held hostage by the Taliban for more than two weeks, his office said.

Chirac thanked Karzai for allowing French envoy Philippe Faure, the top foreign ministry official, to hold talks in Kabul on the fate of the two aid workers and their three Afghan colleagues who were seized in southern Afghanistan on April 3.

The conversation touched on "efforts undertaken for their release," said presidential spokesman Jerome Bonnafont.

During a first conversation with Karzai last week, Chirac asked the Afghan president to "make every effort" to win the release of the two French nationals.

The Taliban have been holding the French man and woman and three of their Afghan colleagues from the Terre d'Enfance (A World For Our Children) charity since seizing them in the southwestern province of Nimroz on April 3.

Faure, the foreign ministry's secretary general, is to hold talks on Thursday and Friday with Afghan officials.

"Our objective remains, more than ever, to bring back the members of the group safe and sound and as quickly as possible," said foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

A videotape showing the French citizens was shown on Canadian television at the weekend. Paris says it has not received any demands from the kidnappers.

Karzai has said that the government will not make any more hostage deals with the Taliban following the controversial release of five rebels in exchange for kidnapped Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo last month.

Faure is to meet in Kabul with NGO representatives and members of the French expatriate community, the foreign ministry said.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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