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UPDATED: 08:27, September 01, 2004
Moussa says deadline extended for French journalists
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The deadline set by Iraqi abductorsof two French reporters has been extended for one more day, ArabLeague (AL) chief Amr Moussa said here on Tuesday.Speaking to reporters, Moussa said that the league has beennotified of the extension by some Iraqi figures, and contacts werestill underway between several Iraqi figures and parties and theFrench side to secure the release of the two French nationals.Last Saturday, a group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraqclaimed it had kidnapped Georges Malbrunot who works for Paris LeFigaro newspaper and 37-year-old Radio France correspondentChristian Chesnot. They went missing in Iraq on Aug. 20.The Islamic militants demanded Paris end its ban on headscarvesin state schools by late Monday.

On Monday, the militants have extended the deadline to France,which ended on late Monday, for 24 hours.

The two journalists urged the French government to revoke a banon the Islamic scarf, as they were shown in a video on Al-JazeeraTV Monday night.

The video showed the two journalists seated in front of thecamera, urging the French people to launch protests and persuadethe government to comply with the militants' demand so as to savetheir lives.

On Sunday, French President Jacques Chirac delivered a televisedaddress to the nation, demanding the release of the two Frenchnewsmen.

Chirac said that "everything has been done and will be done inthe following hours and days" to ensure the newsmen's release, andhe had "no additional information" about the fate of the two sinceAug. 20.

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

Source: Xinhua

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