Envoy tapped to work on hostage crisis in Libya

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Envoy tapped to work on hostage crisis in Libya

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to dispatch a special envoy to Libya for consultations on ways to win the release of a Korean national kidnapped by an unidentified armed group, a ministry official said on Wednesday.

Kang Kyung-wha, the minister of foreign affairs, plans to send Baik Joo-hyeon, a former ambassador to Kazakhstan. The Korean man was taken hostage on July 6 along with three Filipinos during an attack on a water project site in western Libya, according to the ministry. A video clip of them went up on social media last week.

The governments of Korea and Libya have engaged in a month-long secret mission to locate and rescue the hostages. They commissioned a “world-class” risk management consulting firm to analyze the footage for clues to their whereabouts, the Foreign Ministry official said.

“The results of the analysis are in use for efforts to secure their release,” the official told reporters in a background briefing, adding that the government is closely cooperating with relevant Libyan and Filipino authorities on the issue.

Baik will fly to Libya as soon as preparations are complete, the official said, with a plan to stay for two or three days. Before his stint as ambassador to Kazakhstan, Baik served as the Foreign Ministry’s director general of consular affairs in the early 2010s.

He handled efforts to resolve two kidnapping cases involving Korean fisherman operating in waters near Somalia.

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