Georgia, Tbilisi, Jan 10 /Trend N.Kirtzkhalia/
Georgia is a small country and cannot lose its citizens to piracy, the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday, commenting on the release of 15 Georgian sailors from captivity.
"We did not leak information about the negotiations on the release of our sailors from Somali captivity because of security reasons. We have been negotiating for some time through intermediaries, "Mr Saakashvili said.
He stressed that he is particularly grateful to the Minister of Economy Vera Kobalia and her deputy, Giorgi Karbelashvili. "Ms Kobalia found ways to make use of new intermediaries, demonstrating resourcefulness and determination and Mr Karbelashvili travelled hallway round the world in order to find the right people who could solve this issue," Mr Saakashvili went on.
The President of Georgia stated that it had not been easy. "Some 600 sailors, many of whom are EU citizens are in Somali captivity. The EU cannot secure their release. So that our representatives have done a great job and I am grateful to them," he said.
Somali pirates seized the Oilb G tanker of Maltese registration in the Gulf of Aden on September 8, 2010. The vessel was sailing from Alexandria en route to India to a breakers yard. There were 15 Georgian sailors and three from Turkey on board. Release of the hostages was postponed several times.
Initially the pirates demanded $9 million from the Greek ship owner, but later lowered their demands to a million, but the bankrupt owner refused to negotiate and then an interdepartmental committee of the Georgian government joined to the case.