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Indian hostages may soon be released
August 07, 2004 23:08 IST
Last Updated: August 08, 2004 00:18 IST
Antaryami, Sukhdev Singh and Tilak Raj, the three Indians who are being held hostage in Iraq, may soon be free.
Sheikh Hisham al-Dulaimi, who is negotiating on behalf of the abductors, had face-to-face negotiations with Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company, which employs the three, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed said in New Delhi on Saturday night.
"What we have learnt so far is that face-to-face negotiations have taken place between Sheikh al-Dulaimi [the negotiator for the abductors] and senior representatives of KGL today, as a result of which the way has reportedly been cleared for the release of the hostages," he said.
The three may be released on Sunday, he indicated. "You have waited for 17 days, please wait for a day."
The Indians were plying trucks for KGL when they were abducted along with three Kenyans and one Egyptian driver of the company on July 21.
Asked whether New Delhi would send a plane to Baghdad to bring back the hostages, he said, "Even before they have been released, you want me to send a plane."
Ahmed said as soon as the government gets information of their release, "appropriate steps will be taken".
"It must be appreciated that unless we have authoritative and clear confirmation that the hostages have been released, we must wait with patience and with hope," he said.
"What I can confirm, however, is that all indications at this juncture point to a positive outcome to the crisis. We will keep you informed about any fresh developments," he added.
Ahamed, who presided over meetings of the Crisis Management Group, formed to tackle the issue, said the government has been in touch with the Indian embassies in Baghdad and Kuwait throughout the day to follow the latest development.