Austrian hostages’ crisis: Vienna denies allocating half ransom to Al-Qaeda
El Khabar, 9 april 2008
The Austrian Government has denied yesterday information being reported by local and international media saying the abductors have not killed the two Austrian nationals being detained by Al-Qaeda wing in the Sahara because they have been delivered the half of the5 m euros ransom. A spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Affairs Ministry told AFP that Vienna “has enough time to negotiate the release of its two nationals being detained by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.” He further added that “the negotiators haven’t agreed yet with abductors on how the ransom shall be paid as to extend the deadline of negotiations.” Furthermore, the leader of abductors group Abu Zaid has avoided killing the two Austrian hostages as the faltering of negotiations is beyond the scope of the Austrian party. However, the Austrian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman has owed the negotiations faltering to the recurrent interruptions in communications set with the kidnappers moving in the wide Sahara between northern Mali and Southern Algeria. Moreover, some Austrian newspapers have sowed panic among Austrians while saying Al-Qaeda terrorists are likely to kidnap other hostages to ease its financial crisis. Meanwhile the Tunisian Tourism Minister has announced Monday that about 500 Austrian tourists are to visit Tunisia along this week.
09-04-2008 By M.C/ Translation A.A