Italy admits paying to free some hostages

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Aid workers Greta Ramelli (left) and Vanessa Marzullo, who went missing near Aleppo in July are among six Italians being held hostage. Photo: Facebook
17:22 CEST+02:00
Italy on Tuesday admitted paying ransoms to obtain the freedom of some hostages, saying it approached negotiations on a case-by-case basis.

"Cases vary," Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli said on Italian radio, suggesting that a firm policy of not paying ransoms such as that of the United States was "a little mechanical".

"In most cases where we have succeeded in intervening positively there was no money payment," he said.

"We have never carried out a military blitz, but that doesn't mean that we have always reached for our wallet," Pistelli added.

Six Italians are currently being held hostage, three in Syria, two in Libya and one in Pakistan.

English-language media have frequently accused Italy of regularly paying ransoms, despite official denials.

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Washington has a strict policy against paying ransoms, contending that doing so would endanger Americans all over the world.

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