US in close contact with France over hostages

8th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (AFP) - US officials are in close contact with the French government over the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq, the US State Department said Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (AFP) - US officials are in close contact with the French government over the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq, the US State Department said Tuesday.

"We are in close touch with the French government," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, adding that Washington was "very concerned about the situation of these reporters.

"We've seen the diplomatic efforts that the French government has undertaken to try to encourage release," he said. "And obviously we'll follow the situation closely. And any assistance that we can give them in securing their release, we would be happy to do so."

Boucher said he could not give further details on the contacts between Paris and Washington.

Le Figaro journalist Georges Malbrunot and Radio France Internationale correspondent Christian Chesnot were kidnapped along with their Syrian driver on August 20 by a group called the Islamic Army of Iraq.

A statement purportedly from the Islamic Army of Iraq posted on an Islamist website on Monday gave France 48 hours to accept three new conditions for their release: agreeing to a recent truce offer by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, payment of USD 5 million ransom and a pledge not to get involved in Iraq. 

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article