Paris confirms authenticity of video of French hostage


Paris, Nov 18 : The French presidency confirmed Tuesday the authenticity of a video released by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) of French hostage Serge Lazarevic who was captured three years ago in northeastern Mali.

French President Francois Hollande said he considered the video a long awaited "proof of life" of the hostage.

The confirmation came in a statement following the release of a video by AQIM in which Lazarevic calls on the French president to intercede for his release.

Hollande said he has been in constant contact with regional authorities to use all forms of dialogue to obtain the release of the hostage.

As in a previous video released in June, the prisoner appears thinner, with a beard and wearing a turban.

Lazarevic says in the new video that he is very ill and that his life is "in danger since France intervened in Iraq".

The French national, who was captured in a hotel in Hombori where he was on business, said he hoped not to be the eighth Frenchman killed in the region by Islamist militants.

Lazarevic is the last Frenchman held abroad following the release in April of four journalists captured in Syria in June 2013, and the death the same month of Gilberto Rodriguez Leal who was captured in 2012 by the radical Islamic group in Mali.


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