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Negotiations continue for Korkie's release

Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim will continue talks with Yemen to secure the release of Pierre Korkie.

Yolande Korkie with Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman during a press conference in Johannesburg on 16 January 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Minister of International Relations Ebrahim Ebrahim will continue talks with the Yemeni government today in a bid to secure the release of South African Pierre Korkie.

Korkie and his wife, Yolande, were captured by al-Qaeda militants in May last year.

Last week, his wife was released and told to come up with a R30 million ransom.

The Department International Relations' Nelson Kgwete says government will not deviate from its policy of not paying ransom to kidnappers as this would encourage captors to target more people.

"We are not for negotiating for ransom money to be paid."

He says this is not the first time government had to deal with a kidnapping, and are hoping for a positive outcome.

"Our objective is to have him released unharmed."

Over the weekend, al-Qaeda extended the ransom deadline for the money to be paid in three weeks.

KORKIE'S HEALTH QUESTIONED

Furthermore, South African relief group Gift of the Givers, says Korkie is ill and they are trying to find a balance between his health, the ransom money and the release time.

The relief group has raised concerns over Korkie's health.

The group's founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, says he has asked for Korkie's medical records from his family to try and figure out what he may be suffering from.

Yolande Korkie with Gift of the Givers' Dr Imtiaz Sooliman during a press conference in Johannesburg on 16 January 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

"I'm going to do a professional analysis of the report then try to predict, given the condition Yolande said he was in."

Sooliman says this medical analysis is important as it would help them determine if Korkie's life is in danger before the ransom deadline is met.

"If there's anything risky that could harm him before his release then that's not going to work."

The relief group is expected to start negotiating with al-Qaeda soon.

Meanwhile, the militants have threatened to behead Korkie if the ransom is not delivered.

Last week, Yolande made an international appeal for a stay of execution.

Yolande Korkie attends a press conference in Johannesburg on 16 January 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN