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Australia foreign minister says freed reporter Greste ‘immensely relieved’ – report

February 1, 2015

Australian Al-Jazeera reporter Peter Greste was “immensely relieved” and “desperate to come home” after being freed from more than 400 days in detention in Egypt, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday.

“I spoke to Peter Greste shortly after his release and before he departed Egypt,” she told reporters in Sydney, the Australian Associated Press reported.

“He was immensely relieved and he was desperate to come home to Australia and reunite with his family.”

Greste was in Cyprus and was met by consular officials after leaving Cairo with his brother on an EgyptAir flight to Larnaca.

“We moved as fast as we could to make arrangements for his immediate departure,” Bishop said, with the situation having developed quickly.

“He will make his way home in his own time,” she added.

“He wants a bit of rest and recreation and to be re-united with friends and family as soon as possible.”

Bishop said Australia had “worked very hard behind the scenes, working directly with the Egyptian government”.

Greste had said that the support he received had helped him through his time in prison, she said.

The reporter was detained along with two colleagues, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and an Egyptian producer, Baher Mohamed, in December 2013 and charged with aiding the blacklisted Brotherhood movement.

“From my discussion with him, he was very keen to be back on a beach and lying in the sun in Australia,” the report quoted Bishop as saying.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.