Spark of hope for French reporter missing in Iraq

17th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - France has received information that has sparked hope that a reporter and her interpreter who disappeared in Iraq more than a month ago will eventually be found, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Wednesday.

PARIS, Feb 16 (AFP) - France has received information that has sparked hope that a reporter and her interpreter who disappeared in Iraq more than a month ago will eventually be found, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Wednesday.

"We've had indications that have given us hope that they will one day come back. That's all I can say," Barnier told France Inter radio.

Florence Aubenas, a senior correspondent for the left-leaning newspaper Liberation, and her Iraqi interpreter Hussein Hanun al-Saadi have not been seen or heard from since they left her Baghdad hotel on January 5.

"The French authorities, our services, our diplomats - in Baghdad and Paris - are mobilised," the minister added. "We're working so that they can come home as quickly as possible."

But Liberation's founding director Serge July was less optimistic, saying that the government had no proof the pair was still alive.

After talks with Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, July told reporters, "What the prime minister told us... was that there is no information allowing us to say right now that they are alive or not."

"By all accounts, they have information but they don't have anything like we've seen in previous situations, any kind of proof of life that is transmissible," July added.

Raffarin met with 40 officials from French media organisations to discuss the Aubenas case.

Two other French reporters, Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale, were released by insurgents in Iraq on December 21 after being held hostage for four months.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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