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UK appeals for release of British hostages in Iraq

  • Story Highlights
  • Five British men, two Iraqis taken from an Iraqi finance ministry building in Baghdad
  • Four of the Britons were security staff protecting the fifth, a computer analyst
  • One hostage has appeared in a video, says the captives have been treated well
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has appealed for the release of five British hostages in Iraq as the second anniversary of their capture approaches.

"We call on those holding all hostages to release them immediately and unconditionally, and return them safely to their families, where they belong," Miliband said in a statement released Wednesday.

The five British men were kidnapped along with two Iraqis on May 29, 2007, from an Iraqi finance ministry building in Baghdad.

Four of the Britons worked for Canadian-based security firm GardaWorld, according to the company. They were protecting the fifth Briton, a computer analyst with U.S.-based BearingPoint.

The only fully identified captive has been Peter Moore, who said his name in a video released by the kidnappers.

The British Embassy in Baghdad received another video in March showing one of the hostages. Though the embassy released no details about the video, BBC reported that the hostage shown was Moore, who said the men were being treated well.

"I don't think that any of us can imagine their ordeal nor the anguish that their families and friends have had to suffer during this dreadful time," Miliband said.

"We have seen the humanitarian appeals that the families of the men have made. I'd like to support this appeal. Our thoughts are with them all as they continue to endure the pain of being separated from their loved ones."

Miliband said there is a dedicated British government team working "tirelessly" with Iraqi authorities and coalition partners for the men's release.

"The Iraq of today is a different place to that of two years ago," Miliband said. "There are signs of progress and reconciliation as the Iraqi people show their commitment to a democratic and peaceful future. Hostage-taking has no part in that future."

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