RealNews

Chirac Sends FM to Mideast to Win Iraq Hostage Release

French President Jacques Chirac sent his foreign minister to the Middle East on Sunday to try to win freedom for two journalists held in Iraq by militants demanding France end its ban on Muslim headscarves in schools. “Today, the whole nation is united because the lives of two Frenchmen are at stake,” Chirac said in a televised address on Sunday evening. “Backed up by this national unity, I solemnly call for the release of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. Everything is being done and everything will be done in the coming hours and days to achieve this.” Shortly after Chirac laid out France’s position, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier flew to Cairo on a Middle East tour meant to tap regional contacts and win the journalists’ release. The Islamic Army in Iraq, which last week said it killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, on Saturday gave Paris 48 hours to rescind the headscarf ban, without saying what would happen if it does not. Full Story

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