Families of French hostages appeal for'discretion from everbody'

4th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 4 (AFP) - The families of two French journalists being held hostage in Iraq called Monday for politicians to put aside bickering after a failed unofficial operation to release the pair and to concentrate on securing their release.

PARIS, Oct 4 (AFP) - The families of two French journalists being held hostage in Iraq called Monday for politicians to put aside bickering after a failed unofficial operation to release the pair and to concentrate on securing their release.  

"Given the current situation, the families of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot ask all of France's representative figures to not get into debates that could undermine the national consensus and, at the same time, have consequences on the liberation of Christian and Georges," they said in a joint statement given to AFP.  

The families "call for responsibility and discretion from everybody so that negotiations resume in the necessary calm."  

The statement was issued after the failure of an unofficial mission by an MP in President Jacques Chirac's ruling UMP party to organise the release of the reporters, who were abducted south of Baghdad on August 20 and who are believed to be in the hands of an insurgent group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq.  

The MP, Didier Julia, flew back to Paris on Monday, three days after announcing the hostages would be carried to the Iraqi border and to freedom on a convoy that failed to materialise.  

French officials from Chirac on down have sharply criticised Julia's efforts, which they said were carried out independently of their own, so far unsuccessful, liberation operation.  

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin was to hold meetings with ministers and the main political parties Monday and Tuesday.  

"I have only one goal, I have only one priority: the rapid release of the hostages," he told journalists.  

"That is why I am committed to this message to their families: action but also discretion."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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