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France rejects Iraqi PM's declaration as "unacceptable"
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-31 11:20:04

  ĦĦBEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's declaration, which came after the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq and accused France's position towards terrorism, was "unacceptable," the French Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    "This declaration seems in fact to have cast doubt on France's determination in the fight against terrorism ... France is leading untiringly a resolute action against this scourge and it is always bringing its support and contribution to all the initiatives of the international community in this field," said Cecile Pozzo di Borgo, spokeswoman of the French Foreign Ministry.

    The spokeswoman reiterated her country's call for efforts to seek a "political solution" to the Iraqi crisis, adding that "the organization of free and democratic elections would permit to get together conditions of a real political and economic reconstruction of Iraq".

    France has opposed the US-led Iraq war and has no troops in Iraq.

    Allawi declared earlier Monday that the kidnapping of two French journalists showed that there was "no possible neutrality" in Iraq and that those who do not fight at the government level can not escape terrorism.

    "None of the civilized countries can escape," he said, noting "there is no possible neutrality, as shows the kidnapping of the French journalists." "The French deluded themselves if they would hope to stay outside," he added.

    The two French journalists, identified as Christian Chesnot of Radio France Internationale and Georges Malbrunot of Paris daily Le Figaro, urged the French government Monday to revoke a ban on Islamic scarf.

    A video broadcast by Arab Al-Jazeera TV showed the two journalists seated in front of the camera, urging the French people to launch protests and persuade the government to comply with the militants' demand so as to save their lives.

    Meanwhile, the militants have extended the deadline for France to comply with their demand, which ended late Monday, for another 24 hours, according to Al-Jazeera.

    Late Saturday, a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq claimed it had kidnapped the two French journalists. The Islamic militants demanded Paris end its ban on headscarves in state schools by late Monday.

    On Sunday, French President Jacques Chirac made a nationwide televised address demanding the release of the two French newsmen.He said "everything has been done and will be done in the following hours and days" to ensure the newsmen's release.

    French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier is currently on a MiddleEast mission to negotiate the release of the two journalists.

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, after a meeting with Barnier on Monday, called on Iraqi abductors to free the two French hostages. He promised that Egypt would continue contacts with Iraqi officials to help secure the release of the journalists.

    The European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged Iraqi militants Monday to release the two French journalists held hostage in Iraq.

    "I have conveyed all my solidarity and my full support to the French authorities who are at this very moment making all necessary efforts to obtain the release of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot," Solana said in a statement.

    The United States condemned on Monday the abduction of the French journalists and said it showed the "true nature" of the enemy in Iraq.

    "It just shows the true nature of the enemy in Iraq. They will go after innocent civilians in order to try to justify their cause,but there is no justification for it," White House spokesman ScottMcClellan said. Enditem

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