Spanish FM: US Asks Paris, Madrid to Intervene for Israeli Hostages
Washington has asked Spain and France to intervene with Iran on behalf of three Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon, Spain's foreign minister said Sunday.
Josep Pique spoke twice on Saturday with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about the escalating Middle East crisis, the minister told Catalunya radio.
Albright said she hoped Paris and Madrid would ask Iran to act as a mediator with representatives of the Hizbollah movement, backed by Tehran, in an effort to free the soldiers, according to Pique.
"We have received a request from the US State Department. This is normal practice, as our conversations with the Americans are very regular," Pique said.
A ministry spokesman confirmed to AFP that Madrid and Paris had been asked to make a joint appeal to Tehran, but did not specify the time or the means for such an intervention.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Aesfi, condemned Israeli action in southern Lebanon following the kidnapping Saturday, press reports in Tehran said Sunday.
The soldiers were kidnapped during an attack by Hizbollah on an Israeli-held enclave at the southeastern tip of Lebanon.
Hizbollah launched the attack after Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian refugees demonstrating on the Lebanese side of the border against Israeli repression in the Palestinian territories -- BARCELONA, Spain (AFP)
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