Vienna, 12 November 2007 Press release

Secretary General Dr. Johannes Kyrle on the kidnapping of Bert Nussbaumer


Vienna, 12 November 2007 - "Since it became known that Bert Nussbaumer and his four American colleagues were taken hostage in southern Iraq almost a year ago, the Ministry for European and International Affairs, together with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence, has built up a comprehensive worldwide network of contacts from whom we receive regular information on Bert Nussbaumer’s possible whereabouts. We thoroughly investigate every piece of information - no matter how negligible it may seem - that could lead to a resolution of the case," stated Secretary General Dr. Johannes Kyrle, head of the crisis task force in the Foreign Ministry.

"In recent months Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik has used all her political contacts to government members in the Middle East and friendly states such as the USA and Germany to ask for their support in obtaining Bert Nussbaumer’s release. Moreover, the Minister has also ordered regular reports on current efforts," continued Kyrle.

An important concern is maximum support for and provision of information to Bert Nussbaumer’s family. They receive regular counselling from psychologists from the Ministry of the Interior and are personally updated on the latest developments by Foreign Ministry employees, as was the case last Friday.

To date, the alleged hostage-takers have released three videos and a list of names of the persons taken hostage, including that of Bert Nussbaumer. However, no concrete demands have been made so far, nor have any contacts been established by the hostage-takers.

Weekly crisis meetings on the Nussbaumer case are held together with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence. The Austrian embassies in the entire region are actively involved in these efforts. The Austrian embassy in Kuwait, which acts as the information hub, together with officials of the Ministry of Defence, maintains close contact to Mr. Nussbaumer’s employer Crescent Security Group, while the Austrian embassy in Amman, which is in charge of Iraq, maintains regular contact to leading Iraqi figures who have offered their support in resolving the case.

"A few days ago during talks in the USA I myself had the opportunity to bring up the matter again with the relevant staff in the US administration. They, too, are working hard to get to the bottom of this matter. Our American partners have reaffirmed their promise to do everything possible to solve this case," concluded Kyrle.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213