Monday, April 19, 2004

Rice insists U.S. won't swap captives


Officials doing all they can, she says

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - National security adviser Condoleezza Rice on Sunday ruled out the possibility of a prisoner swap with insurgents holding Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin and other Americans.

"The worst thing the United States of America can do is to give an idea to terrorists and to people who want to intimidate that somehow their intimidation techniques are going to be rewarded," she told ABC's This Week.

U.S. officials in Iraq are doing all they can to free the captives, she said.

In April, there have been dozens of kidnappings of foreigners, including two Americans confirmed held. By Sunday, Americans killed in combat had reached 99 so far in April - the deadliest month since the invasion in March 2003

On CBS' Face the Nation, Rice said the violence might continue for some time ahead of the transfer of power June 30, but that the U.S. military presence will remain.

"We will continue to work with Iraqis and the coalition partners to make the place secure," she said.

Pope John Paul II pleaded for the release of Maupin and other hostages, asking the captors to "have feelings of humanity."

"I am particularly close in thought and prayer to the families of all those who fear for the fate of their loved ones, especially all those who have been taken hostage," the pontiff said Sunday in his weekly appearance in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.




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