French FM awaits liberationof hostages in Jordan

3rd September 2004, Comments 0 comments

AMMAN, Sept 3 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and a delegation from the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM) were in Jordan Friday hoping for the liberation of two French hostages held in Iraq.

AMMAN, Sept 3 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and a delegation from the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM) were in Jordan Friday hoping for the liberation of two French hostages held in Iraq.  

"We are holding a working meeting. There is an operational team with the minister and we are in permanent contact with Baghdad and Paris," an assistant to Barnier told AFP.  

But he declined to comment further on the optimism which emerged late Thursday when several French officials, including Barnier, reported that journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot were alive.  

French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres said Thursday: "We know they are alive and no longer in the hands of the abductors who had held them."  

"I hope that we will, perhaps this night, tomorrow or in the next few hours be able once and for all to turn the page on this tragic event while remaining vigilant," he said.  

He warned, however, that "our two compatriots are not in complete security with French forces."  

Barnier made similar comments at a news conference in Amman late Thursday.  

"According to the information we have received, which is being studied with the greatest care, the two journalists are alive and in good health and being well treated," said Barnier, who has been fiercely campaigning for their release.  

Three French Muslims leaders who made a fleeting visit to Baghdad Thursday to win the release of the hostages were meanwhile back in Jordan on Friday.  

"We are still in Amman. We are waiting but there is nothing new," said Mohamed Bechari, president of the national federation of Muslims in France and one of the three delegates.  

"We are hoping they would be set free today," he told AFP, noting that Friday is a holy day of prayers for Muslims around the world.  

"Muslims all over the world hope that it will be today, Friday".  

Bechari said he was due to hold talks later Friday with Abdel Salam Abbadi, a former Jordanian minister of religious affairs who heads the Hashemite Charity Organisation.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

 

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