WASHINGTON – Egypt made no concessions to gain the release of a senior Egyptian diplomat from kidnappers in Iraq and remains steadfast against militant Islamic terror, the State Department (search) said Tuesday.
At the same time, the department implicitly criticized a Jordanian firm for saying it would pull out of Iraq if militants would release two kidnapped employees they have threatened with decapitation by Thursday.
"This was, obviously, a difficult decision, and one that the directors of this company felt they had to take," department spokesman Adam J. Ereli said.
But, he said, "Our views are well-known. We do not make concessions to terrorists, and we do not feel that this is the best way to fight terror."
The Egyptian diplomat, Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb (search), was freed because he is a religious man with good morals, according to a statement by the group that held him, the Lions of Allah Brigade (search).
The State Department was pleased that Qutb was released unharmed and is back at work, Ereli said.
"All our information is that the Egyptian government remains steadfast in this matter," the spokesman said. And, Ereli said, "Our information is that the Egyptian government did not make concessions."
Quoting anonymous sources, a TV news network reported that Egypt bought the diplomat's release with payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"I don't know if that is true or not," Ereli said. "I'd have to refer you to the Egyptians. I think I have seen reports denying this."
The network said the Egyptian government denied making ransom payments.