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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 March 2006, 10:26 GMT
Full text: Straw statement
Here is the full text of Jack Straw's statement on the release of hostage Norman Kember:

I'm very pleased to be able to say that the three hostages - Norman Kember, British hostage, and two Canadian hostages - have been released as a result of a multinational force operation which took place earlier today.

British forces were involved in this operation. It follows weeks and week of very careful work by military and coalition personnel in Iraq, and many civilians as well.

I have, on the two occasions that I've been to Iraq since Christmas, spoken to the great team that has been involved in trying to secure the release of these hostages and I'm delighted that now we have a happy ending to this terrible ordeal for Norman Kember, for his family, for the Canadian hostages and for their families as well.

I spoke about half an hour ago to Mrs Kember. The Foreign Office have kept in very close touch with her, and I have spoken to her from time to time and of course, it goes without saying that she is absolutely delighted, elated, with this news.

But the family will need time and space to deal with what is happy news, and I hope that the British and international media will respect their wishes here.

There is one last very sad point, which is that there were four hostages captured originally, including one, an American, Mr Fox, and it is a matter of great sorrow to everybody that he was killed a little while ago.

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