LONDON, (AP)- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke by telephone Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki following the release of video showing a British hostage seized in Iraq last May.
The hostage, who has been identified as Peter Moore, was kidnapped from Iraq’s Finance Ministry by armed men in police uniforms. Four of his British security guards also were seized.
Brown’s office said the leaders agreed to push efforts to free the men and jointly denounced the parading of a hostage on a videotape.
The hostage takers have called for the release of nine Iraqis being held in coalition custody in exchange for the Britons.
“The prime minister has been in close contact with Prime Minister Maliki on this issue and discussed it again with him over the phone this morning,” a spokesman for Brown’s office said on customary condition of anonymity in line with department policy.
“Both leaders deplored the taking and public parading of hostages and agreed to continue their close cooperation to secure their early release,” he said.
Moore, who has not been officially identified by British authorities, worked for BearingPoint, a U.S.-based management consulting firm.
On a portion of video screened Tuesday on the Arabic-language TV network Al-Arabiya, he was wearing a black-and-white tracksuit and appeared in good health.
In the video, Moore called on Brown to accept the kidnappers’ demand. “It’s as simple as that. It’s a simple exchange of people,” he could be heard saying on the video.