Chirac repeats call for nationalunity over Iraq hostages

6th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

HANOI, Oct 6 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday called for unity over two French hostages in Iraq after a row about a botched attempt to release them.

HANOI, Oct 6 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday called for unity over two French hostages in Iraq after a row about a botched attempt to release them.  

"I am following this situation here constantly, like in Paris," the French president said in Hanoi a few hours after arriving in the Vietnamese capital.  

"Everything is being done to ensure the safety of the hostages and to obtain their freedom. The whole of France, I know, is together for this objective," Chirac told reporters.  

A recent private mission by Didier Julia, a 70-year-old lawmaker in Chirac's ruling party, to release the two French hostages came up empty-handed.  

Paris then lost contact with the kidnappers of the pair, Christian Chesnot, 37, and George Malbrunot, 41. They were taken hostage along with their Syrian driver, Mohamed Al-Joundi, in Baghdad's south on August 20.  

French officials sharply criticised Julia at the time, with Chirac questioning his "interference" and Raffarin calling the initiative "a threat for our fellow countrymen".  

The French president is in Hanoi for bilateral meetings before he takes part in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) from Thursday evening. He is scheduled to leave for China on Friday.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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