France rejects negotiating with Osama bin Laden on Niger hostages

November 20th, 2010 - 1:20 am ICT by BNO News  

PARIS (BNO NEWS) — French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie on Friday rejected the demand of negotiating with Osama bin Laden the release of hostages held in the northern region of Africa.

In an audio message, which was broadcast by Al Jazeera, Abdelmalek Droukdel, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) chief, said “any form of negotiations on [the hostage] issue in the future will be done with no-one other than our Sheikh Osama bin Laden and according to his terms.”

Droukdel, who is also known as Abdel Moussab Abdelwadoud, also demanded France “hasten and take [its] soldiers out of Afghanistan according to a specific timetable that you announce officially.”

Alliot-Marie said France was doing everything possible to liberate the hostages, who were abducted on September 16 during raids that targeted two French firms working uranium mines near Arlit in northern Niger.

The Foreign Minister was clear in saying, however, that “France cannot accept that its policy be dictated by anyone outside.”

The hostages include 5 French citizens, one Togolese, and one Madagascan. In July, AQIM said it had killed 78-year-old French hostage Michel Germaneau in Mali after a failed French-Mauritanian rescue operation, which killed six AQIM militants.

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