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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
UK envoy in Gaza Johnston talks
Alan Johnston
Mr Johnston was the only Western reporter based permanently in Gaza
A senior UK diplomat has met Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya amid ongoing efforts to secure the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston.

Consul-General Richard Makepeace, who is based in Jerusalem, said Mr Johnston's continued captivity remained of "great concern" to the UK.

The 44-year-old journalist has not been seen since he was seized at gunpoint on his way home in Gaza City on 12 March.

On Monday UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour appealed for his release.

Speaking in Geneva, Ms Arbour said she was extremely distressed by Mr Johnston's abduction.

"I certainly share in the sentiments of his family and his friends and I join in their appeal to those who are holding him to release this very decent man," she said.

Little information

Mr Makepeace has met senior Palestinian officials several times as part of ongoing efforts to ensure Mr Johnston's release.

He met Mr Haniya for 30 minutes on Tuesday but chose to make little comment, saying only that the talks were part of a "continuous contact".

Since Mr Johnston's abduction no public demands have been made or information released on his whereabouts.

And there is still no clear information about what state of physical or mental health he may be in.

The Palestinian Authority, the BBC and the UK government say that they are working as hard as possible to secure his release.

Mr Johnston joined the BBC World Service in 1991 and has spent eight of the last 16 years as a correspondent, including periods in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

He has lived and worked in Gaza for three years and was the only Western reporter permanently based in the often violent and lawless territory.




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Louise Arbour calls for Mr Johnston's release





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