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December 30, 1999
'Talks are now extremely delicately poised'
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The negotiations with the hijackers of Flight 814 were on the brink of breaking down early on Thursday morning, Union External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh admitted this evening.
Singh said the Indian delegation had held an "intense round" of talks with the hijackers till 0200 hours Afghan time. "It came to a situation of impasse and there were some apprehensions of no further negotiations," he continued. "Additional security measures by the Taleban were then taken. Efforts were thereafter made to resume the dialogue which was done."
The Afghanistan authorities, however, had dismissed the additional troops that surrounded the plane as "merely the changing of guard" about which the hijackers had been "informed."
The talks have now resumed, and that was a "hopeful sign", the minister said.
However, "the negotiations are now extremely delicately poised," he added.
The foreign minister said the Union Cabinet would meet on Friday morning for a fresh appraisal of the hijacking crisis.
He confirmed that a hostage, who had been released for medical treatment, was returned to the aircraft.
The Taleban has been "constructive and co-operative," Singh said.
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