Belgian-Iranian Prisoner Swap Confirmed


(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, May 26 (KUNA) -- Belgian NGO worker Olivier Vandecasteele has been freed by Iran and is returning home to Belgium after 455 days in an Iranian prison, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed in a video message on Friday.
Vandecasteele was flown to Oman on Thursday evening, where he was met by the Belgian military and diplomats, before setting off for Belgium.
"As I speak, Belgiumآ's Olivier Vandecasteele is on his way to Belgium. If all goes to plan, heآ'll be with us this evening. Free at last," De Croo said.
On his part, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran's foreign minister, announced on Twitter that Belgian authorities released jailed Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi in exchange for the release of the Belgian NGO worker
Assadi, an Iranian diplomat, was imprisoned in Belgium after being convicted for his role in a foiled terror attack in Paris, Belgian media reported.
"I thank the Sultanate of Oman for its positive efforts in this direction," said the Iranian foreign minister.
On its part, Oman posted an official response on Twitter: "Oman's efforts led to an agreement between the two sides for an exchange. Those who were released were taken from Tehran and Brussels to Muscat today in preparation for their return to their home countries.
The Sultanate of Oman appreciates the positive atmosphere that prevailed at the talks between the Iranian and Belgian sides in Muscat and the will of both sides to resolve this humanitarian issue." (end)
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