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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin Assures Chirac

MOSCOW -- President Boris Yeltsin assured his French counterpart, Jacques Chirac, on Friday that Russia was doing "everything possible" to free a Frenchman kidnapped in southern Russia six months ago, Yeltsin aides said.

Yeltsin and Chirac spoke by telephone about the fate of Vincent Cochetel, head of a regional office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees who was abducted Jan. 29 by three masked gunmen in North Ossetia, near Russia's breakaway region of Chechnya.

On Thursday, the commissioner called for Cochetel's release.

"It is an outrage that Vincent Cochetel is still held hostage," Sadako Ogata said. "I appeal to the kidnappers to release him immediately."