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Hostages: Negotiations will resume on Monday

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 01, 2004 23:05 IST
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Reports that the seven hostages, including three Indians, taken captive by a group in Iraq were released turned out to be false.

The employers of the hostages, Kuwait and Gulf Link transport company on Sunday night said the hostages have not been released.

KGL spokesperson Rana Abu Zaineh said the Kenyan foreign minister, who had announced in Nairobi that all the seven hostages have been set free, had 'misunderstood' the issue.

The chief negotiator Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi confirmed this. "So far there has been no positive result. They (KGL) have agreed to pull out of Iraq but are still arguing about the compensation," he said referring to the abductors' demands.

Earlier, when these reports first became public, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed told mediapersons in Delhi that the government was making efforts to find out the veracity of these reports.

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Around 8pm IST, he appealed to mediapersons, particularly television channels, to be patient and not to broadcast reports that the seven persons held hostage in Iraq have been released.

After consultations with the Indian Embassy in Baghdad, he told PTI late on Sunday night that the hostages have not been released. "We expect the negotiations to resume on Monday.

"We are hopeful of a positive outcome. In such a sensitive and delicate issue, patience is a key factor. We are carefully following the developments and monitoring it round-the-clock."

Asked about reports that Dulaimi had pulled out of the negotiations, he said, "We are awaiting a clear picture from our missions in Kuwait and Baghdad."
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