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France expresses "deep concern" after kidnapping of UAE diplomat in Baghdad

posted on 19/05/2006: 1489 views

Paris - France expressed "deep concern" after the kidnapping of a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates who was on mission in Baghdad. The diplomat was seized by gunmen as he visited the cultural office of his embassy in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday.

"In these difficult circumstances, (France) assures the Emirates' authorities of its full sympathy and its solidarity," said Denis Simonneau, the Deputy spokesman at the French Foreign Ministry said late Wednesday, according to KUNA.

France also issued a solemn call for the release of all detainees in Iraq, both Iraqis and foreigners being held against their will. "France calls once again on all Iraqis to turn away from violence," the French official stressed, adding that Paris viewed the "presence of foreign diplomats as a testimony of the commitment of the international community at the side of the Iraqi people.

"Several French nationals, mostly journalists were taken hostage in Iraq over the past two years, but were later released, although an Iraqi working with the French News Agency has been missing for some time.

France has done its utmost to discourage its nationals from travelling to Iraq and has brought pressure to bear on media owners and leaders to stop sending journalists there.

After the release of the three French journalists in two separate cases over a period of a year, there were unconfirmed rumours that France was obliged to pay a large ransom to the kidnappers, some said 10 million dollars per head, and this may also be a factor in pushing authorities here to prevent further kidnappings. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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