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Ethiopia: Kidnapping

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government received from the Eritrean authorities in obtaining the release of the kidnappees held recently in the Afar area. (138805)

Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in London and our ambassador in Asmara maintained active contact with the government of Eritrea during the abduction of the five officials from our embassy in Addis Ababa and family members from 2 March to 13 March.

The government of Eritrea offered to provide whatever assistance they could in obtaining the release of our staff and their family members on humanitarian grounds. After our staff and family members were freed, the Eritrean government made arrangements to transport them to Asmara where they were handed over to our ambassador.

The Ethiopians that were abducted at the same time were released on 22 April. It is not yet clear if the Eritrean authorities offered any assistance or were instrumental in facilitating their release.

The Government are grateful for the assistance received from the Eritrean government, including the personal engagement of President Isaias.