Helicopter crew safety is paramount, says defence minister

As behind the scenes efforts continue to free the three-strong Dutch helicopter crew being held in Libya, defence minister Hans Hillen has warned against over-emotional reactions.

‘This is not what we are after,’ Hillen said on Friday before the weekly cabinet meeting.
But Hillen told the Telegraaf he would not say any more about the case ‘in the interests of the safety’ of the crew. ‘The most important thing is to bring the three of them home’.
The Telegraaf itself is campaigning to ‘bring our soldiers home’ by encouraging readers to use a specially-designed logo in their social media networking.
‘Let it be known that you support the three Dutch soldiers who are imprisoned in the tentacles of the mad Libyan dictator Gadaffi,’ the paper says.
Libyan state television has shown footage of the three, captured by a government militia after a botched attempt to rescue two European nationals from the port city of Sirte.
The crew, which includes at least one woman, are seen in uniform in an office drinking soft drinks from cans. The helicopter, a machine gun said to be on board and other weapons are also featured in the report.
International law

The broadcast said that Libya regards the Dutch nationals as having entered Libyan air space without permission, in violation of international law.
The crew was arrested on Sunday.
According to Trouw, the capture of the helicopter and crew puts the Netherlands in a very difficult position internationally.
As long as the three remain in custody, the Netherlands cannot take any action against Libya, the paper says.

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