Armenia continues efforts for release of 6 Armenians in Eq. Guinea

ArmenPress
March 29 2004

ARMENIAN DIPLOMATS CONTINUE EFFORTS FOR RELEASE OF SIX ARMENIANS,
ARRESTED IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA

YEREVAN, MARCH 29, ARMENPRESS: Official Yerevan is continuing
efforts with the help of third nations and international
organizations to secure the release of six Armenian nationals who
were arrested in Equatorial Guinea on charges of coup earlier this
month.
The Armenian nationals are among 15 foreigners accused by the
authorities of the West African state of plotting to overthrow
president Teodoro Obiang Nguema. In a statement, released last week
the Armenian foreign ministry said they are civilian pilots who
worked in the region on a private contract.
`The accusations of Equatorial Guinea in no way relate to their
professional activities,’ the Armenian foreign ministry said in a
statement last week. `Authorities in Equatorial Guinea present the
Armenian citizens as militant mercenaries, despite the fact that they
are professional pilots with a long work experience.’
Armenian foreign ministry said that Armenia’s envoy to the UN has
officially asked a special envoy of the UN Secretary General to
Equatorial Guinea, who was heading for that country, “to clarify the
situation on the site.” Another Armenian diplomat, Armenia’s
representative at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, met with
delegates of Equatorial Guinea who were participating in the
Commission’s session to insist that Guinea’s authorities must treat
Armenian nationals according to relevant international conventions.
Concurrently Armenian diplomats have contacted two influential
international human rights organizations, Amnesty International and
the International Red Cross to help release Armenian pilots. Amnesty
International has also called on Guinea’s authorities to refrain from
mistreating the arrested.
Armenian foreign ministry said also that Armenian diplomats have
already spoken with their Guinean counterparts in Moscow and New York
to explore ways of having the pilots freed. It said Armenian
diplomats are in constant contacts with French and Russian
authorities which have embassies in the country’s capital Malabo.

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