The Egyptian Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Mahmoud Abdel Ghaffar, seized by Palestinian guerrillas in the?
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: