Russia: 'Spare lives of Russian diplomats in Iraq'

Russia's Foreign Ministry called Wednesday on the kidnappers of four Russian Embassy staffers in Iraq to spare their lives after an al Qaida-led insurgent group said in a Web statement it had decided to kill them. "We once again strongly urge not to take an irreparable step and preserve the lives of our people," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement. The ministry spokesman said that the four kidnapped Russian Embassy personnel were representatives of a country "which has never and nowhere waged a war against Islam." One of them is a Muslim, he said.