Thursday, December 09, 2004

RP asks Iran, Saudi Arabia to help with hostage in Iraq - INQ7.net

RP asks Iran, Saudi Arabia to help with hostage in Iraq - INQ7.net: "RP asks Iran, Saudi Arabia to help with hostage in Iraq

Updated 06:11pm (Mla time) Dec 09, 2004
Agence France-Presse

THE PHILIPPINES has asked Iran and Saudi Arabia to help it try to free a Filipino being held hostage in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said Thursday.
"We are working with these foreign governments. We are leaving no stones unturned to secure the safe and speedy release of [Robert] Tarongoy," he told reporters.

He said the request was relayed in separate meetings with Iranian Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari and Saudi consultative council president, Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid.

Both assured Romulo they would pass on his request to their respective governments, he added, without saying how the two countries could help to free Tarongoy.

He also said a special team in Iraq had also tapped private individuals to help but stressed the Philippines would not pay a ransom for Tarongoy's release. Romulo did not elaborate.

Tarongoy, an accountant, was kidnapped along with an American, a Nepalese and three Iraqis on November 1. They were seized by armed men who barged into the Baghdad office of the Saudi Arabian trading firm employing them.

The Nepalese and Iraqis have since been freed, but Tarongoy and the American have remained in captivity. The kidnappers' identities and their demands have remained unclear.

A key ally of the United States in its fight against terrorism, the Philippines was among the first Asian countries to back the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Ties soured in July when Manila pulled out its token force from Iraq to save the life of Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz, who was kidnapped by militants. The truck driver was freed after the pullout."

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