Vienna, 31 October 2008 Press release

Plassnik: “Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber in the care of the Malian authorities”

Vienna, 31 October 2008 - Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik announced today that Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber from Salzburg, who were kidnapped on 22 February, have been set free: “Special Envoy Anton Prohaska informed me today that Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber have been released last night by their kidnappers after 252 days in captivity. Both are currently under the protection of the Malian army and are on their way to the capital Bamako, where they will be handed over to the care of the Austrian team."

According to Malian sources, the two Salzburgers are said to be well under the circumstances. Plassnik: “I have already spoken in person to family members in Salzburg and informed them of this welcome development. I am pleased for the families of Andrea Kloiber and Wolfgang Ebner that the long weeks of worry and uncertainty have now come to an end.”

“Now their rapid and safe return to Austria needs to be organised,” continued the Minister. In the next few hours an aircraft will travel to Bamako to bring Wolfgang Ebner and Andrea Kloiber home safely.

The Minister took the opportunity of thanking the President of Mali Amadou Toumani Touré, Federal President Heinz Fischer, Special Envoy Anton Prohaska, the members of the Austrian Federal Government and the crisis team for their untiring efforts over the last few months. “The safety and integrity of the kidnapped couple was at the heart of every phase of the efforts. To guarantee these we proceeded cautiously and circumspectly at all times. The humanitarian solution that has now been achieved is a further example of successful joint crisis management by the Austrian Federal Government. I should like to thank all members of the ministries involved.”

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