Kouchner. 'I'll work for a sign of life'
Photo: AFP
'Releasing captives is French people's duty'
In meeting with kidnapped IDF soldiers' families, French foreign minister says his country demands to receive a sign of life from troops
The release of the three kidnapped IDF soldiers is the French people's duty, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said at the start of a meeting with the families of Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser on Monday evening in Paris.


The meeting was attended by Gilad Shalit's parents Noam and Aviva, Eldad Regev's father Zvi and his brother Benny, Ehud Goldwasser's parents Miki and Shlomo and his wife Karnit, and representatives of the Jewish community in France.


One of the community leaders tried to get Kouchner to promise that he would allow a Lebanese parliamentary delegation to arrive in Paris at the end of the month only if it brings along a sign of life from the kidnapped soldiers.


Kouchner replied that he would not be able to condition the delegation's arrival, but added that while the Lebanese are in Paris he would demand that Hizbullah's representatives in the delegation provide a sign of life from the two troops held by the organization.


"In all of our diplomatic activities we demand to receive a sign of life and to work for the kidnapped soldiers' release," the French foreign minister told the captives family members.


"We will continue to do so, not only because one of them is a French citizen (Gilad Shalit), but because this is a basic issue."


Kouchner was one of the founders of the Doctors without Borders organization. Miki Goldwasser asked him to work for the organization to be allowed to meet with the kidnapped soldiers, examine them and provide them with medical care. The minister replied that he would try and advance the issue with the Red Cross as well.


Earlier Monday, the kidnapped soldiers' families met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The meeting was a pleasant one, they said, leaving them reassured that France would aid their cause.


Sarkozy told Noam Shalit that he considers his son Gilad – who has French citizenship – a kidnapped Frenchman and that he is obligated to "care for him as one of our own."


The French president told Shalit's family that he raises their son's case whenever he meets Arab officials and went on to stress that he intends to do what he can for all three kidnapped soldiers.


פרסום ראשון: 07.09.07, 21:57
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