Japanese and Jordanian Hostage Negotiations at a Standstill
The negotiations with Islamic State militants to try and save the lives of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian military pilot appear to be deadlocked. The militants are demanding the release of an Iraqi prisoner. It has already been two days past the extremists deadline, and still no word.
Yasushide Nakayama, the Japanese Foreign Minister, announced late Friday that the process to secure the release of pilot Mu'ath al-Kasaesbeh and journalist Kenji Goto has arrived at an impasse. The Islamic State militants demand the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi prisoner in Jordan on death row for her role in the deadly 2005 Amman bombing, by sunset Thursday. Jordan replied that it would only release Rishawi if they were provided with proof that their pilot, who crashed in Syria last month, is alive. Since no evidence has been received, negotiations seemed to have stopped.
The people of both Japan and Jordan rallied in the streets Friday to call for the hostages safe return. However, the officials are still uneasy. The audio recording released by the Islamic State did not promise the return of either hostage. No one wants to release Rishawi, a proven danger, without a guaranteed prisoner exchange.
The world waits with baited breath as the hostage crisis continues.