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PM speaks to Palestinian President

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

17 August 2006 Media Statement

PM speaks to Palestinian President

Prime Minister Helen Clark today said she had spoken to the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, late last night about the kidnapping of New Zealand cameraman, Olaf Wiig, and his American colleague.

Helen Clark said that President Abbas had assured her that the Palestinian National Authority would do everything it could to secure the release of Olaf Wiig and his colleague.

“President Abbas said that, on hearing of the kidnapping, he had instructed the Palestinian security apparatus to work to locate the kidnappers and to secure the men’s release.

“He said of Olaf Wiig and his colleague, Steve Centanni: ‘These people are our guests, and we will do everything we can to help’.”

Helen Clark said she had phoned Mr Wiig’s family to convey news of the conversation.

“The New Zealand Government is most appreciative of the strong commitment expressed by President Abbas to help secure the release of the two men. The New Zealand diplomats on the scene will continue to work with the Palestinian National Authority, the diplomats of other nations, and Fox News personnel to that end.

“The thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Olaf Wiig’s wife, Anita McNaught, and his family in New Zealand and elsewhere at this time, and with the family of Mr Centanni,” Helen Clark said.


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