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French FM in Middle East to Win Iraq Hostages Release - 2004-08-30


French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier has issued a direct appeal for the release of two French journalists kidnapped in Iraq.

Speaking Monday in Cairo, Mr. Barnier said the reporters were trying to help the world understand the difficult living conditions in Iraq. He said a top French diplomat has been sent to Baghdad to press for the journalists' release.

The two reporters were kidnapped 10 days ago by insurgents now demanding France lift its ban on Muslim headscarves in French schools. On Saturday, kidnappers demanded the ban be lifted within 48 hours.

Separately in Cairo, Amr Moussa, the head of the 22-member Arab League, issued his own call for the journalists' release. And in Baghdad, Reuters news agency says a Sunni Muslim association of clerics issued similar appeal.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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