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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Quartet urges BBC man's release
Alan Johnston
Alan Johnston was abducted on his way home from work
The four main international mediators for the Middle East have called for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, abducted in Gaza on 12 March.

The so-called Quartet of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU said "everything necessary" must be done to bring about Mr Johnston's release.

Palestinian officials have said he is alive and safe and that they are doing all they can to obtain his release.

Mr Johnston, 45, was seized nearly 12 weeks ago in Gaza City on his way home.

Speaking after a meeting in Berlin, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon read a statement from the Quartet expressing its deep concern over the recent factional violence in Gaza.

The Quartet "called upon the Palestinian Authority government in co-operation with [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas and regional actors to do everything necessary to restore law and order, including the release of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston."

Palestinian government spokesman Ghazi Hamad has said that Mr Johnston is alive, safe and could be freed soon.

ALAN JOHNSTON PETITION
More than 100,000 people have written to the BBC to demand Alan Johnston's release

Despite the assurances, there has been virtually no official news about Mr Johnston since his disappearance.

He was the only Western reporter permanently based in Gaza and his abduction has triggered appeals for his release from lawmakers and rights groups around the world.

More than 100,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for his release.

Earlier this month, Mr Johnston was named broadcast journalist of the year by the London Press Club for his work reporting from the Gaza Strip.

The BBC has been featuring special reports and interviews with friends and family in the hope that Mr Johnston may access them on radio or television.




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