UK diplomat meets Haniya PM

Britain's consul general in Jerusalem met with Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya on Thursday to discuss efforts to free an abducted British journalist.

UK diplomat meets Haniya PM

Britain'sconsul general in Jerusalemmet with Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya on Thursday to discussefforts to free an abducted British journalist.

Richard Makepeace said he met with Haniya and other seniorPalestinian officials to discuss British correspondent Alan Johnston, whosefate remains unknown more than three weeks after he was grabbed by gunmen inthe Gaza Strip.

"We hope to find a quick and peaceful solution to this unfortunateproblem," Makepeace told journalists after the meeting.

Haniya spokesman Ghazi Hamad said his government was working intently incoordination with security services to secure Johnston's release.

"Alan Johnston was a guest in the Palestinian territories and we arecommitted to his wellbeing and to securing his release as quickly aspossible," Hamad said.

The purpose of the meeting was "only to discuss the abduction of theBritish reporter" and "strictly for humanitarian reasons," aconsulate official said.

The Foreign Office also said the government remained committed to its policyof boycotting Hamas.

The meeting "does not change our normal policy on political contactswith members of Hamas," a statement said.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told journalists rallying for Johnston's release outside his Gaza Cityoffice that he had discussed the case with Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett onThursday.

"We are working to obtain his release as soon as possible," Abbassaid.

Johnston, 44, is now in his fourth week ofcaptivity after he was abducted at gunpoint in Gaza Cityon March 12 -- the longest a kidnapped foreigner has been kept in theincreasingly lawless territory.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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