French ambassador to hold talks with Sunni clerics





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Published on Jul 21, 2015

1. Various of French Ambassador Bernard Bajolet arriving at Baghdad's Um al-Qura mosque
2. Various of Bajolet meeting with Harith al-Dhari, head of the Sunni Clerics Association
3. Armed men outside mosque
4. Bajolet walking
5. SOUNDBITE: (Arabic) Bernard Bajolet, French ambassador to Iraq:
"We have discussed a lot of topics including the political situation as well as preparations for the elections. Of course we also discussed the issue of the two French hostages.''
6. Various of ambassador walking
7. Ambassador getting into car
8. Ambassador's convoy departing


The French ambassador met the leader of Iraq's Sunni Muslims in Baghdad on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming elections and the release of French hostages.

Bernard Bajolet met with Harith al-Dhari, the head of the Sunni Clerics Association, at the Um al-Qura mosque in northwest Baghdad.

Bajolet said after the meeting only that the hostage issue was among a variety of issues the two men discussed.

The French ambassador has visited the mosque, which is the association's headquarters, several times with the aim of seeking an outlet to get the French hostages released.

Two French journalists have been held hostage in Iraq since Aug. 20, when they disappeared while driving to the Iraqi city of Najaf.

Christian Chesnot, a 37-year-old journalist for Radio France International, and Georges Malbrunot, 41, of Le Figaro newspaper, were captured along with their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Joundi.

Al-Joundi, who was rescued November 11 on a sweep of Fallujah by US Marines, appealed on Monday for the journalists' release.

A group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq has claimed responsibility for the abductions.

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