May 8, 2007 / 12:06 PM / 12 years ago

Efforts to free BBC's Alan Johnston continue

Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa al-Barghouthi (R) and Palestinian journalists attend a protest calling for the release of kidnapped BBC correspondent Alan Johnston in the West Bank city of Ramallah April 28,2007. REUTERS/Loay Abu Haykel

GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian government hopes for a “quick resolution” of the case involving the suspected abduction of the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza, a senior Palestinian official said on Tuesday.

“There are important and continued efforts” being made, Azzam al-Ahmad, deputy to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, said after Haniyeh met in Gaza with British consul Richard Makepeace to discuss the case of Alan Johnston.

Johnston disappeared on March 12 in Gaza when his car was found abandoned.

Ahmad told Reuters Haniyeh was following the case, and added: “We hope that there will be a quick resolution.”

Makepeace, speaking after his 30-minute meeting with Haniyeh, said their talks were part of “continuous contacts over this humanitarian case”. He declined further comment.

Haniyeh said last week his aides were seeking a possible meeting with people close to those involved in the suspected kidnapping.

Johnston, 44, is the only Western correspondent based full-time in Gaza, where a year-old economic embargo and fighting among militants have worsened living conditions for the 1.4 million people crammed into the territory.

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