Red Cross: No Access yet to Israeli Prisoners Held by Hizbollah
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representative said Tuesday the ICRC still had no access to the Israeli soldiers held hostage by Lebanon's Hizbollah.
"The ICRC is still waiting for an answer from Hizbollah to the request it made Sunday to have access to the three soldiers as quickly as possible," representative Henry Fournier told AFP.
He was asked about comments from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who said he believed the soldiers were well and being well treated.
"As far as the state of health of the soldiers is concerned, I still have no comment to make," the ICRC representative said.
Annan said earlier Tuesday in Jerusalem that he had information the soldiers kidnapped by Lebanese guerrillas at the weekend were well, although he could not confirm the information.
"From the information we have received I understand they are well and that they are being well treated, but we have not been able to confirm this, we are working very hard on it," Annan said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Annan said he considered the abduction of the three army sergeants by Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas in clashes on the Israel-Lebanon border on Saturday a "violation" of UN resolution 425 covering Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon.
Hizbollah, meanwhile, denied a media report that Israel must free 19 Lebanese prisoners it holds before even receiving information about the three Israelis.
"Information saying that we demanded the release of 19 Lebanese detained in Israel in return for information requested from us about the health of the Israeli soldiers or that we asked for the freedom of an undetermined number of Arab prisoners in Israel in return for these soldiers does not reflect Hizbollah's position," a Hezbollah spokesman told AFP.
Hizbollah had not yet made any decision on what its demands may be, adding that "only Hizbollah Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is entitled to make declarations or deal publicly with this file," said the spokesman -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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