European Union’s chief for foreign policy, Javier Solana, called on Friday for the release of the BBC reporter, Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in Gaza five weeks ago.

In a letter delivered to Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, Solana voiced deep concern over the safety of Johnston. “I will be in constant contact with President Mahmoud Abbas until Johnston is released unharmed”, Solana said. Solana maintained that he is aware of the fact that President Mahmoud Abbas has been exerting relentless efforts over the case.

Meanwhile, The British National Union of Journalists (NUJ), called on members to show their support at a vigil for kidnapped BBC correspondent and union member Alan Johnston. The union, with the support of the International Federation of Journalists, is to stage a vigil for Alan Johnston outside the Palestinian General Delegation office in London on Wednesday 25 April between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. Alan Johnston was abducted by unknown masked men on March 12.

A previously unknown group announced last week it had executed Johnston, a claim Palestinian security services refuted yesterday, confirming Johnston is alive. Since the abduction of Johnston, the Palestinian journalists union, jointly with other local governmental and non-governmental bodies, has staged several protests, demanding the Palestinian Authority’s security services to secure the reporter's release. The journalists' union has recently announced a two-day boycott of the government’s activities, in protest of what they called the latter’s 'failure to secure the freedom of Johnston'.