|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
December 25, 1999
UAE opens negotiations with hijackers
Josy Joseph and Amberish K Diwanji in New Delhi
In a significant development, the government of the United Arab Emirates has opened negotiations with the hijackers of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814 which was being refuelled at the Al-Minhat military base north of Dubai.
This is the first time since the hijack drama began at 1700 IST yesterday over Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh that any officials have been able to establish contact with the five hijackers. But the hijackers have made no demands as yet.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Chaman Lal Gupta said a team of senior representatives of the UAE government, comprising mainly defence personnel, had opened negotiations with the hijackers, who were speaking in Hindustani. The team is led by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces.
But Gupta said the UAE government was insisting that the hijackers first release the women and children aboard the aircraft. A stepladder has already reached the military base.
India had insisted that the hijackers first release the women and children before the plane could be refuelled, but since refuelling had already begun, it was clear that the hijackers had rejected the demand.
The Union civil aviation ministry has kept an Airbus 320 aircraft on standby, to fly to Dubai at short notice if there is any breakthrough in the negotiations.
Captain R N Singh, the pilot of the aircraft, told rediff.com that his team was trained to deal with such emergencies.
Ministry sources said the reports of four passengers having been shot dead may well be false, because the hijackers had so far made no move to get rid of the bodies which could not be carried on the plane indefinitely.
They also said that no Indian representative has got in touch with the hijackers yet and the negotiations are being conducted entirely by the UAE authorities.
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK