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PM welcomes news that kidnapped men alive

24 August 2006

PM welcomes news that kidnapped men alive

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Prime Minister Helen Clark today welcomed news that kidnapped New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig and his colleague, Steve Centanni, are alive.

"This is the first information we have had about the two men since they were kidnapped 10 days ago. I am pleased that they appear to be well and that they say they are being treated reasonably."

"Nevertheless I remain deeply concerned for their safety. They are in a very difficult situation. Our thoughts are with them and their families."

"New Zealand officials on the ground in the region are continuing with intense consultation with the Palestinian authorities and others. They are receiving good co-operation from the Palestinian authorities. I welcome this and those authorities' ongoing efforts to secure the release of Olaf and Steve.

"It was decided yesterday to strengthen the consular team on the ground in Israel and Gaza by sending a senior New Zealand police officer to the region. He departed New Zealand this morning.

"The officer, Inspector Rob Abbott, will work alongside the two Foreign Affairs staff, providing technical expertise and assisting in liaison with local law enforcement officers.

"Foreign Affairs and the Police are also keeping in close contact with, and providing support to, Olaf's wife, Anita McNaught, and his family in New Zealand, at this difficult time," Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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