Indonesia to ask Somali gov't to help free hostages

12:15, April 14, 2011      

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Indonesia would ask the Somali government to help free 20 Indonesian sailors, as pirates and the hijacked ship owner continue to negotiate for their release, local media reported Thursday.

Indonesian President's spokesperson for international affairs, Teuku Faizasyah, said that Indonesia had to approach the Somali government as a matter of diplomatic etiquette, whether the Somali government was effective or not.

"The government has no direct contact with the pirates. It has been done by the ship owner. The government only monitors [ negotiations] as input to decide a final option to free Indonesian sailors," Teuku was quoted by the Jakarta Post.

Teuku said one possible option allowed by the United Nations was a military rescue.

"(Military responses) have been legitimized by the U.N. but we need to be cautious on that option. Somalia is in a civil war. The area where sailors are held hostage is not under the control by the central government of Somalia," he said on Wednesday.

Somali Ambassador to Indonesia Muhamod Olow Barow said that the best way to rescue the Indonesians was through negotiations, adding that the Somali government was ready to help.

Barow said Somalia would support whatever course of action Indonesia decided upon, including a military response.

He added that 99 percent of hostages taken by Somali pirates survived and were eventually released.

The 20 sailors aboard the MV Sinar Kudus cargo ship, owned by PT Samudra Indonesia, were taken hostage in March by Somali pirates, who are demanding a three million US dollars ransom.

Somali pirates have hijacked 41 ships from 16 countries since March 2010, taking 583 sailors hostage, including 20 Indonesians.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said that the last communication between the pirates and the owner of the Sinar Kudus was on Tuesday.

"The owner of ship coordinates with us. We will finalize the mechanism (to free the Indonesians)," he said.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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(Editor:张茜)

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