G8 leaders agree to end ransom payments

British leader tweets announcement of plan to end practice of paying ransoms to terrorists

British prime minister David Cameron (centre) sits with (left-right) Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, US president Barack Obama and France’s president Francois Hollande during the second Plenary Session of the G8 Summit, at Lough Erne, today. Photograph: Ben Stansall/Pool/Reuters

British prime minister David Cameron (centre) sits with (left-right) Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, US president Barack Obama and France’s president Francois Hollande during the second Plenary Session of the G8 Summit, at Lough Erne, today. Photograph: Ben Stansall/Pool/Reuters

Tue, Jun 18, 2013, 11:07

G8 leaders have agreed to “stamp out” ransom payments to terrorists, David Cameron has said. The British prime minister claimed success in his push to persuade other world leaders to act to cut off an important funding stream for extremists.

It was part of the opening session of talks at the annual gathering of leading industrialised nations being hosted at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.

“Another #G8UK result: leaders agree to stamp out ransom payments to terrorists, calling on companies to follow lead.” Mr Cameron announced via his official Number 10 Twitter feed.

Up to $70 million (€52.3 million) is estimated to have been paid to secure the release of Western captives in the last three years alone - an average $2.5 million (€1.86 million) per victim.

Much of that is believed to have ended up in the coffers of terror groups including al-Qaeda and its affiliates and the Taliban.

Some countries outlaw such payments but others - including some within the group of leading industrialised nations - continue to meet the demands to the frustration of non-payers.

In the past, France, Italy and Japan have reportedly made payments to secure the release of their nationals but officials have been unwilling to specify any other countries which continue to do so.

The United States, Russia, Germany and Canada are the remaining G8 nations.

Reuters

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