Italy wants int'l guidelines on ransoms

Italy, criticized over a prisoner swap with the Taliban last month, said on Thursday NATO and the United Nations should consider guidelines about appropriate ways to respond in hostage crises.

Italy wants int'l guidelines on ransoms
Italy, criticized over a prisoner swap with the Taliban last month, said on Thursday NATO and the United Nations should consider guidelines about appropriate ways to respond in hostage crises.

Addressing parliament, Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema defended the release of five jailed Taliban to free Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo, kidnapped in Afghanistan.

The Taliban killed Mastrogiacomo's Afghan driver last month and his Afghan translator last week.

D'Alema said kidnapping cases were too sensitive to create a blanket no-negotiation rule.

"At the same time, I think it's time to explore the possibility of guidelines shared on an international level, a code of shared behaviour," D'Alema said. "I think, for example, in the case of Afghanistan, of a discussion at NATO."

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has agreed to a debate on whether to have a policy on hostage deals following requests from several countries, a NATO spokesman said.

Critics of the Taliban swap, including the United States and Britain, said it encouraged further kidnappings and endangered NATO troops by returning jailed guerrillas to the battlefield.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ruled out similar deals with the Taliban in future. He and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi have been accused of applying a double standard by taking extraordinary measures to free Italians but not Afghans.

But D'Alema said Rome had also sought the release of the Afghans kidnapped with Mastrogiacomo and that the Taliban broke the deal by only freeing the Italian. Karzai only released the Taliban because they posed "limited danger," D'Alema added.

Even the Italian charity organization in Afghanistan which mediated the swap has turned against the government. It blames Rome for failing to win the release of one of its staff arrested by Afghan authorities and also revealed Italy paid a $2 million ransom for an Italian reporter seized in Afghanistan last year.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
YORUM EKLE