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Asia-pacific

Clinton calls for return of missing backpackers

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-03

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Iran Monday to help locate and return to safety three missing Americans, who are thought to have been arrested by Iranian authorities after straying across the border from Iraq.

AFP - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Monday on Iran to help ensure the safe return of three missing Americans thought to have been detained by Tehran after straying across the Iraq border.
  
"Obviously, we are concerned. We want this matter brought to a resolution as soon as possible," Clinton told reporters.
  
"And we call on the Iranian government to help us determine the whereabouts of the three missing Americans and return them as quickly as possible," the chief US diplomat said.
  
However, Clinton said the US government had by early Monday not received official confirmation that the Iranian authorities were holding the three.
  
She added that Washington had asked the ambassador of Switzerland, which represents US interests in Iran in the absence of a US-Iranian diplomatic relations, to help determine the status of the three.
  
The trio was arrested Saturday, according to Iranian state television, which said they "infiltrated through the Iraqi border."
  
The autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq, where the three Americans set off from, said it was in contact with Iranian and US officials in a bid to resolve the issue.
  
A Kurdish official identified the three as US backpackers and said they were arrested after having been warned on the Iraqi side not to hike in the mountain area because of its proximity to the border with Iran, which is not clearly marked.

Date created : 2009-08-03

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