UK Rules Out Bigley Hostage Deal
Downing Street has stressed that the government’s position on no negotiating with terrorists remains unchanged. Tony Blair said he would talk to the kidnappers holding Ken Bigley in Iraq but said it would be “completely wrong” to give in to their demands. And Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: “We have a policy… we don’t negotiate with hostage takers.” Both were commenting after the release of a video showing Mr Bigley caged, and again pleading for help.
“Tony Blair is lying. He doesn’t care about me,” Mr Bigley, 62, said in the video appeal shown on al-Jazeera television on Wednesday. “My life is cheap. He doesn’t care about me.” Looking unwell and distraught he called on Mr Blair to meet the demands of his kidnappers to free female prisoners in Iraq and said his captors did not want to kill him. The video comes as dozens of people have been killed in bomb attacks on coalition troops in Baghdad, and US air strikes in Falluja have killed at least three people. Al-Jazeera also claimed on Thursday that 10 more hostages have been seized in Iraq. None are believed to be British.
Earlier the prime minister said he felt “absolutely sickened” by the situation and said he would talk to the hostage takers if they contacted him. He later told the BBC: “If you take a situation here in this country, if a hostage is taken and the police turn up, they will talk to the people who are holding the hostage. “They are not going to give in to the hostage takers’ demands, that’s a different matter all together, that would be completely wrong.”
A sad situation, to be sure, but absolute the correct policy stance.