Merkel issues emergency appeal for German hostage in Iraq




 
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Merkel issues emergency appeal for German hostage in Iraq
 
December 5th, 2005  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Merkel issues emergency appeal for German hostage in Iraq


Merkel issues emergency appeal for German hostage in Iraq
BERLIN, Dec 4 (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint appeal
with other leading national figures Sunday for the release of a German
archeologist abducted in Iraq after a reported deadline to meet the
kidnappers' demands passed.

Under the headline "Set Her Free", Merkel and other personalities called for
the safe return of 43-year-old Susanne Osthoff, a convert to Islam living in
Iraq for several years, who with her driver has been missing since November
25.

"The German government is doing everything it can to save the lives of
Susanne Osthoff and her escort," Merkel wrote in the Bild am Sonntag
newspaper.

"We call on the perpetrators to release the hostages immediately."

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, leaders of the German
Muslim and Jewish communities, opposition party chiefs and presidents of
leading charity groups joined the appeal.

The kidnappers set a deadline last Tuesday of three days for Germany to stop
training Iraqi police officers as the price for the hostages' release,
weekly magazines Focus and Der Spiegel reported in advance copies of their
Monday issues.

The reports said the demand expired early Friday morning.

Merkel told public television late Sunday that the government had no new
information on Osthoff.

She confirmed: "We do not yet know where she is and have not yet received
signs of life from her."

But she said the government was using all the channels at its disposal "to
save the life of Susanne Osthoff and I hope that that will be successful".

Der Spiegel, quoting the government crisis team dealing with the case, said
the kidnappers could be members of the Arab nationalist "Ishrin" groups.

It said Berlin was relying on Kurdish intermediaries and the Sunni leader
Abd al-Muneim al-Badari to establish contact with the kidnappers.

Kurdish leader Massud Barasani was contacted as a go-between.

Four Western peace activists -- two Canadians, a Briton and an American --
were also recently kidnapped in Iraq.