Seychellois hostages ‘must be released together’


14-May-2009

Mr MorganThis follows signs that emerged earlier this week of differences in the positions of the two groups of pirates holding the 10 hostages.

The chairman of the negotiating team, Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Transport Joel Morgan, said intensive talks have continued after the good progress made last week but certain elements of the pre-agreement with the pirates have to be reviewed.

He said the negotiating team remains determined and confident that all Seychellois being held hostage will be released.

This may now take a little longer, depending on how the negotiations unfold in the coming days, but good progress is still being made with both groups of Somalis, he added.

Repeating the position of the Seychellois authorities, Mr Morgan stressed that we will not agree to take one group of hostages and leave the other behind.

“If we were to leave one group behind, this would change the negotiating parameters for them, and their chances of being freed would be diminished. This is why we are insisting to the pirates that we will continue to negotiate for the release of all the hostages together,” he said.

Asked whether last week’s announcement was not premature, and whether the negotiating team and the government plan to be more cautious in the future before giving the public any information, Mr Morgan said the authorities have been reasonable and correct in announcing the progress made.

“We have not attempted to deceive the public,” he said.
“When there have been problems we have said there have been problems, and when there has been progress we have said there has been progress. We will continue to maintain that line because we want to be as open and as upfront as possible with people because there is nothing to hide.”

Mr Morgan reassured the families and friends of the hostages, as well as the general public, that the government and the authorities concerned are doing all in their power to secure the release of all the hostages.

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