NEW DELHI: Jordan has become the first Arab country to openly negotiate a prisoner-swap with Islamic State militants. Jordanian officials have agreed to hand over an Iraqi al-Qaeda prisoner on death row in exchange for captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh.

“Jordan is ready to release prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi if the Jordanian pilot Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh is released and his life spared,” the government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said on state television.The move is a departure from Jordan’s usually hardline approach of not negotiating with militants.

In a new recording that has emerged at the time of writing, the Islamic State appears to have issued a harder deadline for the swap. The recording, in which Japanese hostage Kenji Goto purportedly says, “I am Kenji Goto. This is a voice message I've been told to send to you. If Sajida al-Rishawi is not ready for exchange for my life at the Turkish border by Thursday sunset January 29 Mosul time, the Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh will be killed immediately" -- was posted to YouTube this morning.

The Japanese government has said that it is analysing the new recording. Goto makes an appearance after another Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa was reportedly killed. In a video that emerged a week ago, the two men were dressed in orange jumpsuits alongside a knife-wielding militant dressed in black. In the video, the militant demanded $200 million from the Japanese government within a period of 72 hours in exchange for the two captives.

Japan responded by saying it will not give in to terrorism. "Our country's stance -- contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in -- remains unchanged," chief government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo. "The video contains threats to murder two people who appear to be Japanese nationals," Suga said. "We are checking if it's credible...Taking people hostage is unforgivable and I feel strong anger,” the spokesperson continued.

Goto’s fate then got linked to Lt Kasaesbeh as another video emerged where Goto said that both his and Lt Kasaesbeh’s lives were at risk if Rishawi was not released.The deadline put forth for Goto was 24 hours whereas Lt Kasaesbeh was given less time -- his deadline passed today.

Lt Kasaesbeh was captured after his plane came down near Raqqa in Syria. "Jordan holds the group (IS) and its supporters responsible for the safety of the pilot and his life," said a statement read out on state television, that added that the F-16 warplane had crashed during a Jordanian air force "military mission against the hideouts of the terrorist group.”

The Islamic State then published an interview purportedly with the Jordanian pilot in its English language magazine, Dabiq. The interview, presented in a short question and answer format, discusses the pilot’s capture and asks if the pilot knows what the Islamic State will do to him. “Yes.. They will kill me,” he answers.

The Islamic State has a number of foreign hostages, of which, in addition to Yukawa, American aid worker Peter Kassig, US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning have been the most prominent executions. These executions were recorded -- the men all dressed in orange jumpsuits -- and released by the Islamic State accompanied by messages directed to the UK and US for their role in bombing the militant group in Iraq and Syria.

Another prominent hostage, Briton John Cantlie, has made numerous video appearances by has not been executed. Instead, Cantlie has appeared in eight videos, the latest being a documentary style video released earlier this month in which Cantlie visits a marketplace, a hospital and a police station and claims that life in Mosul, contrary to western reports that depict the city as decrepit, is stable.

Although the hostages from the UK and US, barring Cantlie, seem to be lined up for execution, a number of hostages from a host of countries have reportedly been securely released on the payment of ransom money. The countries involved however have not confirmed the terms of exchange.

Released hostages include Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo -- two Italian aid workers who returned home last week after being held hostage in Syria for over five months. Javier Espinosa, Ricardo Garcia Vilanova and Marc Marginedas, three spanish journalists, were released last march. French journalists Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Perre Torres were released in April last year after being held for ten months. Nicolas Hammarstrom and Magnus Falkehed, Swedish freelance journalists, were released early January. The Swedish government declined to comment on how they were set free.

Several others, however, are believed to still be being held hostage by the militants, including al-Kasaesbeh and Goto. The group reportedly also holds captive Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest who traveled to Syria and went missing in July 2013. An unidentified American aid worker and three workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross are also being held by the Islamic State militants. Their identities have not been revealed by the US and the Red Cross because of fear for their safety.