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New Chancellor discusses hostage incident

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BERLIN, Nov 30, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Germany's new chancellor says everything is being done to rescue a kidnapped German woman in Iraq but vowed she would not be blackmailed by the abductors.

In her first major speech to parliament, Angela Merkel focused on Friday's kidnapping of 43-year-old Susanne Osthoff and her driver. The kidnappers have vowed to kill the woman unless Germany cuts ties with the Iraqi government, the BBC reports.

Merkel expressed sympathy to the families and said her government "will do all it can to bring them to safety as soon as possible." She also said: "One thing is clear. This government, this parliament will not let itself be pressured."

In other comments, the chancellor said she wants to make Germany a dynamic European economy again. Germany is facing an 11 percent jobless rate.

Separately, the Deutsche Welle quoted Interior Minister Wolfgang Schauble as saying the kidnapping of the German aid worker proves Germany's stark opposition to the U.S.-led war will not be enough to protect the country from terrorism.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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