ROME, Aug. 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has
called on the Iraqi militant group claiming to have kidnapped Italian journalist
Enzo Baldoni to release him, local media reported Thursday.
"To Baldoni's captors I say: free a journalist who has fought against the
war, who has criticized us," Frattini said in an interview with Rome-based daily
Frattini added Baldoni's reports had been critical of Italy's role in the
US-led campaign in Iraq.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar-based satellite televisional-Jazeera
Wednesday night, Frattini said Baldoni is in Iraq to serve the Iraqis, help
them, alleviate their suffering and publishimages of what is happening in Iraq.
Earlier on Tuesday, al-Jazeera reported that an Iraqi militant group said
it was holding an Italian who identified himself as Enzo Baldoni, a 56-year-old
journalist, who also worked as a Red Cross volunteer in Iraq.
The group gave Italy 48 hours to announce its pullout of troopsfrom Iraq.
The Italian government has rejected the demand.
Italy did not participate in the war on Iraq but has 3,000 troops in the
country as part of a British-led multinational stabilization force in southern
Italy is prepared to pull its troops out of Iraq if the Iraqi interim
government makes such a request, Frattini said.
Baldoni's family is in constant touch with the Italian Foreign Ministry and
has also sought the help of the Italian Red Cross (CRI) in Iraq.
Maurizio Scelli, CRI chief in Iraq, said Wednesday night that his
organization had contacted Iraqi religious leaders in an attempt to find