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Hostage crisis: Talks resume to secure release
August 02, 2004 15:22 IST
Negotiations to secure the release of three Indian hostages held in Iraq resumed on Monday after their employer Kuwaiti company re-established contacts with Iraqi negotiator Sheikh Hisham Al Dulaimi and the "outlook" to free them "remains positive".
"We have been informed through our embassies in Baghdad and Kuwait that contact has been maintained between Sheikh Al Dulaimi and the KGL company (that has employed the three Indians) and negotiations are continuing this morning," Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed told reporters after a meeting of the Crisis Management Group.
Dulaimi was yesterday quoted as having stated that he was pulling out of the negotiations as he had failed to reach an agreement with KGL.
The minister also reiterated the government's advise to Indian citizens to refrain from travelling to Iraq and said New Delhi was in touch with the governments of Kuwait and Jordan to prevent this.
"We have already contacted the embassies in Kuwait and Jordan in Delhi to seek their cooperation in preventing the movement of Indian nationals across their borders to Iraq," he said.
Ahmed said the Indians missions in Kuwait and Jordan have already taken up this matter with the governments of their countries.
"The government's decision in this regard has been widely publicised in the region, in particular, among the Indian community. We earnestly hope that our citizens will heed the government's advice and refrain from travel to Iraq for the time being," he said.