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Govt stays out of Korkie negotiations

Gift of the Givers says a meeting with the deputy minister of international relations achieved little.

Pierre Korkie is being held hostage by al-Qaeda militants in the Yemeni city of Taiz. Main picture: AFP. Inset picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Gift of the Givers says little was achieved at a meeting between one of its representatives and Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim in Yemen to discuss the ongoing negotiations to release Pierre Korkie.

The Bloemfontein teacher and his wife Yolande were kidnapped in the Middle Eastern country by al-Qaeda militants in May last year after taking up teaching posts there.

Yolande was released over a week ago and told to come up with a more than R30 million ransom for her husband.

On Saturday, al-Qaeda extended the ransom deadline to three weeks.

But Gift of the Givers remains concerned that it cannot raise that amount of money while fears over Pierre's declining health are increasing the urgency of their cause.

Ebrahim is expected to leave Yemen tonight after his two-day talks with the country's government.

Gift of the Givers' Imtiaz Sooliman says the deputy minister declined to join in with their negotiations.

"They said, 'you know we don't do that as government. We don't negotiate with terrorists, so we can't get involved.' They said whatever other help they can give, they would like to give, but there's not much more they can really do."