Bhubaneswar: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said that abducted Malkangiri District Collector and the junior engineer were safe as Maoists have agreed not to harm the hostages till the talks are on.

This message was conveyed during the ongoing negotiations between mediators and state government officials for safe release of Malkangiri Collector R V Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi, Patnaik said in a statement at the state Assembly here.

"The mediators assured the officials that no harm will be caused to the hostage duo, when talks are on," he said.

Patnaik said it was agreed that there would not be any combing operation till the negotiations are over and stated that detailed discussion was being held in a congenial manner.

At the same time, the Maoists would not indulge in any untoward incident, disturbance or road blockade that could hamper the peace process as long as talks are on, the Chief Minister said.

(With agency inputs)