April 6, 2008
Paris in contact with Le Ponant pirates
Paris has established contact with the Somali pirates who have seized the French yacht-type cruise ship Le Ponant, said French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, speaking on France Inter radio on Sunday.
"The case is likely to be lengthy. It is important that our contact is fruitful and we must do everything to avoid bloodshed," said Kouchner.
Asked if France was ready to pay ransom to the pirates, Kouchner said: "We shall see."
Newspaper Le Figaro quotes CMA-CGM, parent of cruise line Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, as saying the crew is "safe and sound." There are no passengers on board.
The ship is now reportedly anchored off the Puntland area of northeastern Somalia.