Romania will do everything possible to spare journalists kidnapped in Iraq

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

President Băsescu told the families of the kidnapped journalists that he will do everything possible to save the journalists

The president of Romania, Traian Băsescu, said on Friday that his country will do everything possible in order to free the three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq a few weeks ago, after Islamic militants released a video threatening to kill them.

Al-Jazeera reported a few days earlier that the Iraqi militants would kill the journalists unless the Romanian government withdraws its troops from the country within four days. With 850 troops, Romania has one of the largest contingents in Iraq. In January this year, after President Băsescu was elected, he pledged to send more peacekeeping troops in Iraq.

On Friday evening, the colleagues and relatives of the journalists gathered in front of the Cotroceni Palace, Băsescu's residence, to call for their release. After learning of the released tape, Băsescu returned from the GUUAM summit in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova, where he was an observer, to Bucharest, where he called for a meeting with the relevant departments to discuss the issue.

The families of the journalists were also invited to Cotroceni, and sympathy was expressed for them. The President told them that, "The state institutions are doing everything we can [to save the three journalists]."

Reporter Marie-Jeanne Ion, from Prima TV, and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci and reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian, from newspaper România Liberă, were kidnapped in Baghdad on March 28, one day after President Băsescu made an unexpected visit to Iraq to announce a supplement of troops.

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