Talks to free French hostages 'bogged down'

21st December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 21 (AFP) - Talks to free two French journalists, who were abducted in Iraq exactly four months ago, are making no headway, the media watchdog group Reporters without Borders (RSF) said Tuesday.

PARIS, Dec 21 (AFP) - Talks to free two French journalists, who were abducted in Iraq exactly four months ago, are making no headway, the media watchdog group Reporters without Borders (RSF) said Tuesday.

"Despite laudable efforts by French diplomats, it looks like there is nothing new," said RSF secretary general Robert Menard in an interview published Tuesday by the daily newspaper Le Parisien.

"The negotiations are getting nowhere," he said.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier earlier said he believed the two reporters, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, were still alive and in good health.

"We regularly receive news, and according to what we hear we are convinced that they are alive and in good health," Barnier told the private radio station RTL on Monday.

Chesnot and Malbrunot were seized on a road south of Baghdad on August 20.

Menard said France's Arab policy "has been overestimated, we bypassed the acting Iraqi interim government and France is suffering from its worsening relationship with Syria which backs the resistance in Iraq".

He added that there did not seem to be any precise demands by the kidnappers.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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