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Kidnapped New Zealander: Dennis Corrin

3 November 2000

Kidnapped New Zealander: Dennis Corrin Update

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today that New Zealand was keeping in close touch with the Ecuadorian authorities over the kidnapping involving the New Zealander Dennis Corrin.

"Together with the Governments of the other kidnap victims, we have made it clear to the Ecuadorian authorities that the first priority has to be the safety of the kidnap victims," Mr Goff said.

"There has been no communication from the captors of the 10 foreign nationals, seized on 12 October at an oilfield in the El Coca region in Ecuador. This is consistent with previous kidnappings when contact has not been made for weeks or even months.

"It is believed the group may be still in Ecuador, in difficult terrain near the Colombian border. The kidnapping bears similarities to a September 1999 kidnapping involving 8 Canadian hostages. Ecuadorian authorities have in place a crisis committee and police and military authorities are coordinating on this case.

"I have written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, and his Ministry and the other government agencies involved - police and military - have been helpful. New Zealand does not have diplomatic representation in Ecuador, so contact is being maintained from our posts in Santiago and Buenos Aires.

"A New Zealand official visited Quito 23-25 October to meet all the relevant Ecuadorian authorities, the British and Americans, employers’ representatives and others. The British Embassy is keeping an on-the-spot watch for us, and we’ll have officials visiting as often as it takes until this is over.

"In these situations it is not governments who do the negotiating. In fact governments resolutely stand back from such involvement. No government will put itself in a position where it is held to ransom, especially not for money. Employers of the kidnapped people, and employers’ insurers are the negotiators.

"In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in regular communication with Mrs Corrin and will continue to do so at this very difficult time.


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