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Qatar calls on Iraq to increase efforts to release its citizens

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah yesterday called on the Iraqi government to take responsibility and increase efforts to secure the release of 26 Qataris who were kidnapped during a hunting trip last month in southern Iraq.

“We are working closely with the Iraqi government and believe they must take responsibility,” AFP news agency reported Al Attiyah saying.

“The hunters entered Iraq after obtaining permissions from the official Iraqi authorities,” he added.

A group of 26 Qataris including members of the ruling family were kidnapped on 16 December in Muthanna, southern Iraq.

The Gulf Cooperation Council last month condemned the kidnapping considering it “an unacceptable and detrimental act to the fraternal relations between the two countries” calling on the Iraqi government to “take immediate and decisive action to ensure the safety of the abductees and release them as soon as possible.”

Last month, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari denied any links between his government and the kidnappers stressing that “Baghdad is making efforts to secure the release of those kidnapped”.

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