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New Zealand concern for hostage in Iraq

New Zealand concern for hostage in Iraq

Prime Minister Helen Clark said the New Zealand Government is deeply concerned at the taking of innocent aid workers in Iraq, including a New Zealand permanent resident.

"New Zealand officials are in contact with the family of Harmeet Singh Sooden, and have offered them practical assistance, as they go through this ordeal. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff are assisting Mr Sooden's father to join the family in Auckland as quickly as possible.

"I understand this is a very difficult and stressful time for the family and I express sympathy, on behalf of New Zealanders, to all those involved," Helen Clark said.

"Officials have also been in contact with the Canadian authorities. The Canadian Government is working towards the safe release of the hostages. We have offered Canada any assistance towards this goal.

"It is important that we maintain one channel of communication, and we are confident that Canada is making all efforts to resolve this and have the hostages returned to their families.

"This is a terrible act against humanitarian aid workers, who had gone to help the people of Iraq," Helen Clark said.

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