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GMA speaks with UN's Kofi Annan
on Nayan's freedom

November 02, 2004

MANILA (PNA) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was on the phone today with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on efforts to secure the release of Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan who was abducted last week in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Nayan was abducted in broad daylight last Thursday with two co-workers from Ireland and Serbia-Montenegro, serving under the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) which monitored the recent elections in Afghanistan.

The details of the conversation with Annan were not released, but last week Annan expressed "deep regret and dismay" that the three were abducted.

The President stressed the necessity of "restraint on information (being given out) in order to avoid controversies that could prejudice the safety of Angelito."

"The government is taking all appropriate measures to bring Angelito home," the President said, underscoring the government's close coordination with the United Nations and other institutions on the case.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has announced near-daily briefings on the Nayan abduction but had forgone one today in lieu of a meeting on the issue of the National Security Council late this afternoon, according to DFA spokesperson Gilbert Asuque.

The DFA is the only agency authorized to give out information on the Nayan saga. It coordinates with the UN, through its Manila resident representative, Deborah Landey, and other governments such as Ireland, Afghanistan, and Serbia-Montenegro.

In a press statement, the DFA said that "in view of the extraordinary and dangerous circumstances that have arisen from the abduction, (it is) imposing a restraint on information on the matter in order to assure the safety and security to the fullest extent possible."

"We are at a critical juncture in this saga and I ask for public understanding regarding the restraint on information we are imposing," pleaded DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo.

"This is necessary to enable the government to proceed on its crucial tasks unhampered, to avoid misunderstanding and to ensure that controversies that may endanger the life of Nayan may be avoided," Romulo said.

Congressional leaders have also been briefed on the situation.

The Philippine ambassador to Pakistan, who is also accredited to Afghanistan, Jorge Arizabal, is now in Kabul establishing contacts for Nayan's release.

Arizabal has reported that all Filipinos in Afghanistan--numbering 37-- were "accounted for" and advised "to limit their movements."


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