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Iraq denies kidnapping Qatari fishermen

Iraq’s foreign minister insisted on Tuesday that his government has no connection with the kidnapping of Qatari fishermen in the south of the country last week. Ibrahim Al-Jaafari made his comments at a joint press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, in Kuwait City. He arrived in Kuwait on Monday for a two-day visit.

“I deny categorically that this issue of the kidnapping has any relation to the Iraqi government,” he said. “Not everything that happens on the ground in Iraq happens with the approval of the government. There are security flaws that we must acknowledge and our enemies exploit the shortcomings."

A large group of unidentified armed men abducted at least 26 Qataris from their desert hunting camp near the Saudi border last week. At least nine people who were part of the hunting group managed to escape and cross into Kuwait.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, which was described as “a shameful act” by the Gulf Cooperation Council in a statement. The GCC called on the Iraqi government to shoulder its international and legal responsibilities, and take decisive and immediate action to guarantee the safety of the kidnap victims and obtain their release as soon as possible.

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