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Belgian embassy girls’could soon be home’

Published on 03/05/2004

3 MAY 2004

BRUSSELS – Two young sisters who have been holed up in the Belgian embassy in Tehran for over five months could soon be home in Liege, the Belgian press reported on Monday.

Citing Iranian newspaper reports, several papers said the Belgian and Iranian authorities had agreed that Sara and Yasmine Pourhashemi could return home imminently.

According to Iranian newspaper Etemad, the deal follows an agreement on visiting rights between the sisters’ divorced parents.

The pair’s mother is Belgian and their father is Iranian. Etemad said they reached the agreement during a meeting in Tehran

“During a friendly meeting with officials from the Foreign Ministry and her ex-husband, it was agreed that Mrs Pourhashemi would take her daughters to Belgium and that their father could visit them when he wanted,” the Iranian newspaper said.

Belgian officials on Wednesday said that discussions on he girls’ case were “going the right way,” but did not comment directly on the Iranian newspaper reports.

“We hope this situation will be resolved in the coming days,” one official told Belgian newspaper la Libre Belgique.

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was set to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi on Monday, ostensibly to talk about Iran’s nuclear programme.

But same analysts were predicting that the two men could use the meeting to announce that the case of the ’embassy girls’ had finally been resolved.

The Pourhashemi sisters were kidnapped by their father and taken to Iran last August following a holiday in Greece.

In December they escaped to the Belgian embassy in December, where they have been seeking refuge ever since.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news