|BBC JOURNALIST ALAN JOHNSTON RELEASED IN GAZA (04/07/07)|
'I am delighted that Alan Johnston has finally been released. He is now in the care of the British Consul General in Jerusalem, Richard Makepeace. Our immediate priorities are to ensure that he is well and that he is reunited with his family, who have not seen him for 114 days.
'Throughout Alan's ordeal, we have seen an outstanding show of support and concern for him from around the world. The Palestinian people showed their repugnance at Alan’s kidnap. Palestinian President Abbas strongly condemned Alan’s kidnapping and demanded that it be brought to an end. Ismail Haniya and Hamas spokesmen denounced the hostage takers and demanded Alan’s release. I fully acknowledge the crucial role they have played in securing this happy outcome. And hundreds and thousands of ordinary Palestinians, especially in Gaza, campaigned tirelessly for Alan’s safe release.
'Hostage taking is an abhorrent crime. I hope that the overwhelming support shown for Alan in the last four months has shown that all decent people believe that taking hostages can never be a legitimate means to achieve any end.'