Sri Lanka's influential Buddhist clergy Sunday appealed for the release of a truck driver taken hostage in Iraq, saying the island traditionally has had friendly ties with Baghdad. Buddhist monk legislator Uduwe Dhammaloka in an appeal to the abductors of Sri Lankan driver Dinesh Dharmendran Rajaratnam said the trucker should be freed in the interest of warm relations between the two peoples.
The monk noted that Sri Lanka had been a key supplier of tea to Iraq and remained an old friend.
Al-Jazeera television network has said that the Islamic Army in Iraq on October 28 abducted two drivers -- one from Sri Lanka and the other from Bangladesh -- working for a Kuwaiti company.
Sri Lanka has no diplomatic mission in Iraq and four months ago discouraged its nationals from going to the strife-torn country in search of employment.
Foreign ministry officials said they were working with the Sri Lankan mission in Lebanon to secure the release of the hostage.
The Islamic Army in Iraq k