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Italy Defends Afghanistan Hostage Deal


http://gdb.rferl.org/2CEA4481-21D9-4C9F-8BD8-08D8BFA4C497_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/2CEA4481-21D9-4C9F-8BD8-08D8BFA4C497_mw800_mh600.jpg D'Alema (right) with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Rome in February (epa) April 12, 2007 -- Italy's foreign minister today defended a swap that freed an Italian journalist abducted in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of five Taliban prisoners.


Both the Italian and the Afghan governments have come under strong criticism over their handling of the hostage crisis last month in which two Afghans kidnapped alongside the Italian were killed.


Massimo D'Alema told parliament today the "constant criterion" of Italian governments -- not just that of Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema -- was to "save the life of a hostage."


(AFP, ANSA, AP)

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