Krishna speaks to Egyptian Ambassador on Indian hostage issue

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SM Krishna
New Delhi, Mar 7: External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has met Egyptian Ambassador Khaled el Bakly and discussed the recent incident of Somali pirates hijacking a ship which had among others six Indian sailors on board.

"Government is continuing with its efforts to ensure all possible help in seeking safe release of the sailors, held captive by Somali pirates for more than seven months now," an official sources told PTI on Monday, Mar 7.

They said the minister met the Ambassador, who has agreed to coordinate with the ship owner who is an Egyptian. The Panama-flagged vessel, MV Suez, was captured by the pirates on August 2 last year.

The ship's crew includes four Pakistanis, six Indians, four Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians. The Somali pirates have reportedly demanded USD 4 million for release of the six Indians and given a week-long deadline for meeting their demand, which is to expire shortly.

Meanwhile, the families of captives have been demanding immediate and resolute action by the Centre in the matter.

However, maintaining that "publicity is just what the pirates want so that they can hike up their ransom demands further", Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said, "Let's not help them this way.

"In the past, without publicity, shipowners have negotiated release of hostages and brought down ransom demands too," she had tweeted yesterday.

PTI

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