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Former Cypriot hostage meets Foreign Minister
2006-01-17 12:31:20

Nicosia, Jan 17 (CNA) - Cypriot national or Armenian origin Garabet Jikergian, who was held captive in Bagdad for four months and released earlier this month, met here Monday with Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou.

Arrested on 21 August, Jikergian thanked the government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the people of Cyprus and his family for standing by him until he was released.

''As you see I am well. Thanks to God, I returned,'' he said, adding that tomorrow he will undergo medical exams. ''I wouldn't want my worst enemy to go through my ordeal because it was a real tragedy,'' Jikergian said and expressed hope he will be able to put this experience behind him and begin a new life.

The Cypriot Minister congratulated Jikergian ''for his strong spirit during his 130-day ordeal and for not yielding, which made his captors release him in the end.''

He said Jikergian is ''a Cypriot national, the Cypriot state has an obligation to protect all its citizens and I believe this case forced us to use all our relations and abilities to protect him in the best possible way.''

The Ministry was in close cooperation with the Lebanese government since Jikergian also has Lebanese nationality. For this reason, Iacovou held two meetings with his Iraqi and Lebanese counterparts, while President Papadopoulos also spoke with his Iraqi counterpart, Iacovou said, adding that the government will help the 40-year-old overcome his ordeal.

Concluding, Iacovou said Jikergian's appeal is to be allowed to overcome his ordeal and face life once again.

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