A spokesman for Somali pirates holding an arms-laden Ukrainian ship says they have withdrawn their threat to blow up the vessel if a ransom is not paid, because they are negotiating its release, AP reported.

Spokesman Sugule Ali says negotiations are going very well.

"We have withdrawn it," Ali said Wednesday, referring to the threat. He spoke to The Associated Press via satellite phone from the MV Faina.

Ali declined to say with whom the pirates are talking. In the past they have said they were talking with the ship`s owner.

The Tomex Corp. of Odessa, Ukraine, which operates the ship, has not commented on negotiations.

The pirates had threatened to destroy the ship Tuesday. Relatives of Ukrainian crew members have demanded their government pays the ransom.


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