France working 'discreetly' to free Iraq reporters

25th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 25 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Monday he was still hopeful two French reporters held hostage in Iraq would be freed, adding that "lines of dialogue" had been opened with those detaining them.

PARIS, Oct 25 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Monday he was still hopeful two French reporters held hostage in Iraq would be freed, adding that "lines of dialogue" had been opened with those detaining them.

"I continue to hope that their liberation is possible," Barnier told France's LCI all-news cable channel.

Journalists Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper were abducted south of Baghdad on August 20 with their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Jundi.

The French government, after initially losing contact with the abductors following a failed unofficial bid last month to have them freed, has renewed negotiations but been secretive about developments, saying publicity may jeopardise the reporters' lives.

"We are working calmly, patiently, seriously, with discretion, because that is one of the conditions of their safety," Barnier said.

He said "a certain number of contacts, lines of dialogue" had been opened but refused to specify whether direct negotiations were underway.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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