The Egyptian Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Mahmoud Abdel Ghaffar, seized by Palestinian guerrillas in the?
GV Ambassador Ghaffar down steps of aircraft and embraced by welcomers (3 shots)
GV Airport building
SCU Ambassador speaking (Spanish translation) and English speech
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: MR. GHAFFAR: "They are very young people. I believe that they are three students...teachers...and an engineer, very young too."
QUESTION: "Were you able to talk with them at all?"
MR. GHAFFAR: "Pardon?"
QUESTION: "Were you able to talk?"
MR. GHAFFAR: "Yes. We were always permitted to talk during the sixteen hours."
QUESTION: "Was there any stage you were particularly concerned, Minister? Was there any stage you were particularly concerned they would carry out their threats?"
MR. GHAFFAR: "Well, they have never tried to menace us or to threaten us. They were carrying their guns in their hands. They were having their bombs or explosives in their bags, they never really (INDISTINCT). Thank you."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Egyptian Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Mahmoud Abdel Ghaffar, seized by Palestinian guerrillas in the embassy in Madrid on Monday (15 September), returned to the Spanish capital on Wednesday (17 September). He was accompanied by two other Egyptian officials also involved in the 16-hour embassy siege.
The three diplomats, accompanied by the Iraqi and Algerian ambassadors, had flown with their captors to Algeria early on Tuesday after Egypt had refused the palestinians' demand for revocation of the recent agreement with Israel. The guerrillas instead had settled for a denunciation of the accord by five Arab ambassadors in Madrid, including Mr. Ghaffar...and the flight to Algiers.
Speaking at a news conference at Madrid airport shortly after his return aboard a regular Algerian Airways flight, Mr. Ghaffar said that all four guerrillas were very young, and had not tried to threaten their hostages during the siege. Following his arrival in Algiers the day before, the ambassador was quoted as describing the whole affair as no more than a dialogue among Arab brothers.
During the siege drama, the four Palestinians had threatened to blow up the Madrid embassy, but Spanish police reported on Tuesday (16 September), that they had found no explosive during their search of the building.
Egyptian delegates to the Geneva Middle East peace conference resumed their talks with Israeli negotiators on Tuesday, following a pledge by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat that Egypt would honour the terms of the agreement with Israel despite campaigns and criticism.
Part of Mr. Ghaffar's Madrid news conference is on film. A transcript of his remarks of follows: