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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
US helping kidnap victim hunt
Kidnap victim Peter Shaw
Mr Shaw was abducted at gunpoint in the street
The United States has offered to help the Georgian authorities in their hunt for Peter Shaw, the Welsh businessman kidnapped three months ago.

The 57-year-old banker from Cowbridge, south Wales, was abducted by a gang in the capital Tiblisi on 18 June, after a street shoot-out.

Map of Pankisi Gorge

The American ambassador to Russia has said the US wanted to help Georgia take over the Pankisi Gorge in the north of the country, where it is believed Mr Shaw, and other kidnap victims, are being held.

He said there had been "certain positive results" in the ongoing operation.

Russian troops are already involved in the operation, and the Georgian interior mMinister said he is optimistic Mr Shaw will be freed soon.

Last month, one of Wales' MEPs added her voice to the campaign to free Mr Shaw, who was a well-known figure among business and political leaders in Tblisi.

President demands

Labour's Glenys Kinnock wrote what her office described as a "strongly-worded letter" to the president of Georgia urging him to take immediate action to secure his release.

Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze - a personal friend of Mr Shaw - has demanded his top ministers find and free the British banker.

Mr Shaw had been working for a European Union-sponsored agriculture development bank.

President Shevardnadze said he may hold his ministers personally responsible if law enforcement agencies fail to locate Mr Shaw.

Georgia President Eduard Shevardnadze
President Shevardnadze is a friend of Mr Shaw

He is trying to deal with claims that high-profile politicians, along with criminals, are involved in Georgia's widespread kidnappings of foreign nationals.

Despite assistance from London's Scotland Yard specialists, all attempts to find Mr Shaw, who was set to return to Cowbridge after six years in Georgia, have failed.

Reports have indicated the kidnappers contacted police authorities to demand a US$2m ransom for Mr Shaw - a claim the UK Foreign Office refused to speculate upon.

Mr Shaw - originally from Maesteg - took early retirement as a Midland Bank manager six years ago, then worked in Azerbaijan and Hungary.

He has three children in south Wales - Lisa, 30, Rhodri, 29, and Philip, 26.

He had been in Georgia since 1996 and was appointed team leader in 1999 for Agrobiznesbank, which gives loans to the agriculture sector under the EU-backed Tacis programme.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Iolo ap Dafydd
"The police investigation began within hours of Mr Shaw's abduction"

More news from south east Wales
See also:

05 Jul 02 | Wales
22 May 02 | Country profiles
22 May 02 | Europe
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