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Iraqi vice-president renews call for MP's release

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, July 6 (Reuters) A top Sunni political leader today called on kidnappers to release Sunni lawmaker Taiseer al- Mashhadani and her guards nearly a week after her abduction in the Iraqi capital.

''I insist on our brothers, the kidnappers, who are hosting sister Taiseer to speed up her release so we can return to parliament,'' said Tareq al-Hashemi, Iraq's vice-president and leader of Mashhadani's Iraqi Islamic Party.

The party is a major part of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the main Sunni bloc in parliament, which has boycotted sessions in protest at the kidnapping and hinted that it suspects the kidnappers were pro-government Shi'ite militias.

Hashemi said he did not know who was behind the kidnapping but that they had contacted the party to say she was safe.

''The kidnappers haven't come forward with difficult demands.

This signals that whoever is hosting our sister Taiseer will have good intentions, God willing,'' he said.

Hashemi, responding to reported demands set by the kidnappers, reiterated his party's support for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops and condemned attacks on all places of worship.

REUTERS SHB RK2041

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