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UPDATED: 07:47, March 27, 2007
Iraq urges Iran to release British sailors
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Iraqi foreign minister called on Iran to release 15 British sailors detained earlier in southern Iraq in a telephone call with his Iranian counterpart, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

On Sunday evening, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari discussed the issue with Iran's Manouchehr Mottaki, pointing out that "according to competent Iraqi authorities' information, the UK Navy personnel had been captured on Iraqi territorial waters," the statement said.

"They (the sailors) operate within the Multi-National Forces with the Iraqi government's consent and in conformity with the relevant Security Council resolutions," it said.

"The minister called for their release and for addressing the issue legally and wisely," it added.

On Friday, the Iranian navy detained 15 British navy personnel, allegedly for their illegal entry into Iranian territorial waters in the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Britain insisted that they were in Iraqi waters when they were detained.

On January, the U.S. forces detained five Iranians in northern Iraq, accusing them of being part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard which allegedly provides funds, weapons and training to Shiite militia in Iraq.

Tehran denied the accusations, insisting that the five were engaged exclusively in consular work.

Source: Xinhua

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