UN, EU Appeal for Immediate Release of Estonians, Say Abduction a Threat to Lebanon’s Standing in the World

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Angelina Eichhorst, and U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams made a joint appeal on Monday for the immediate and urgent release of the seven Estonian tourists.

“We appeal for the immediate release of the seven abducted Estonian nationals. These bicyclists came to Lebanon as tourists, with no ill intent. No purpose whatsoever is served by their continued detention,” said Eichhorst and Williams.

The seven men who were kidnapped in the Bekaa valley shortly after entering Lebanon on a bicycle tour from Syria exactly two months ago pleaded for help in a video released Friday, criticizing their government for abandoning them and saying they were in "great danger.”

The U.N. and the EU have been closely following the search undertaken by the Lebanese authorities for the tourists, whose abduction and continued detention is a violation of the most basic of human rights, said the press release.

“This criminal act is a reminder of a dark part of Lebanon’s history, which could threaten Lebanon’s standing in the international community,” the two envoys said.

While lauding the Lebanese authorities for the steps they have taken to find the abductees, Williams and Eichhorst emphasized that no effort must be spared to bring the men safely back to their country and to their families.

“We hope this issue will be resolved very soon,” they said.

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