'No reason' not to hope for French reporters' release

5th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Nov 5 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Friday there was "no reason" to give up hope that two French journalists held hostage in Iraq since August will be released.

BRUSSELS, Nov 5 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Friday there was "no reason" to give up hope that two French journalists held hostage in Iraq since August will be released.

"We have no reason not to have hope," Chirac told reporters when asked about the fate of Christian Chesnot of Radio France International and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper.

The journalists were abducted on August 20 south of Baghdad.

Chirac described the situation as "a tragedy for our hostages and their families as well as for the Syrian hostage" captured at the same time.

He said he had learned to be "extremely cautious" when commenting on the closely watched case "because I have noticed for a long time that remarks in this area are always dangerous".

Chirac paid tribute "in particular to the exemplary behaviour of their families and their colleagues who have succeeded in protecting the best interests of the hostages".

The French ambassador to Iraq, Bernard Bajolet, said Sunday that the journalists were in good health and that Paris was working hard to secure their freedom.

Speaking in Baghdad after a nearly hour-long audience with the president of the influential Committee of Muslim Scholars, Hareth al-Dari, Bajolet said French authorities "were in permanent contact" to find a positive solution, without identifying the parties concerned.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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