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Spokesman confirms released French hostages are expected in Cyprus
2004-12-22 10:14:07

Nicosia, Dec 22 (CNA) -- Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides confirmed today reports that the two French journalists, held hostages in Iraq, who were released on Tuesday are expected in Cyprus.

He said a French aircraft, carrying French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier will transfer the two former hostages back to France.

Chrysostomides said he is not at liberty to disclose any further information about the matter, following a request by the French government.

He explained that the formal welcome of the two French journalists will take place in France in the presence of President Jacques Chirac.

''Cyprus is a safe place to receive hostages or high risk personalities. Cyprus also serves as a centre for humanitarian services in our region,'' Chrysostomides added.

Responding to questions, he said a representative of the government would be at the airport to meet the French foreign minister.

Earlier today Chirac's office announced that Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot will be collected by an air force jet in Cyprus to fly home.

On board the 14-seater jet are Barnier and relatives of the former hostages, the Elysee palace.

Latest information say the French jet landed at Paphos.

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