Press Releases

    SG/SM/9611
    AFG/270
    24 November 2004

    Secretary-General Delighted by Hostage Release in Afganistan

    NEW YORK, 23 November (UN Headquarters) -- Following is a statement attributable to the Spokesma for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General is delighted to learn of the release of Annetta Flanigan, Shqipe Hebibi and Angelito Nayan, the three United Nations staff members who were abducted in Afghanistan on 28 October 2004.  He is profoundly relieved that their ordeal and the anxiety of their families and friends are now ended.  The Secretary-General spoke to each one of them by phone earlier today.

    The Secretary-General spoke to President Hamid Karzai this morning to commend him and the Government of Afghanistan for the crucial role that they played in securing their safe release and expressed his gratitude to the people of Afghanistan for their outpouring of sympathy and support for our colleagues over the past 27 days.

    He also spoke to Jean Arnault, his Special Representative in Afghanistan, to congratulate him and asked him to convey his gratitude to the United Nations family for their courage, dedication and solidarity during these difficult weeks.

    The Secretary-General further thanks the international forces for their support to the Afghan authorities.

    The Afghan people have high expectations and hopes with regard to the role of the United Nations.  The United Nations system will continue to work to strengthen the security of its staff in order to enable it to fulfil the organization's mandate to further peace, reconstruction and democracy in Afghanistan.

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