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David Cameron's statement on the Algerian hostage crisis
I spoke to the Algerian prime minister yesterday and it is now clear that this appalling terrorist incident in Algeria is now over.
Tragically, we now know that three British nationals have been killed, and a further three are believed to be dead. And also a further British resident is also believed to be dead.
I know the whole country will want to join me in sending our sympathies and condolences to the families who have undergone an absolutely dreadful ordeal, and now face life without these very precious loved ones.
The priority now must be to get everybody home from Algeria, in terms of this incident, and I have spoken this morning to our ambassador, who is in Algiers, and this morning will be going again to the south of the country to help co-ordinate that absolutely vital activity.
Now of course people will ask questions about the Algerian response to these events, but I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched a vicious and cowardly attack.
When you are dealing with a terrorist incident on this scale with up to 30 terrorists it is extremely difficult to respond and get this right in every respect.
This is a stark reminder, once again, of the threat we face from terrorism the world over. We have had successes in recent years in reducing the threat from some parts of the world, but the threat has grown particularly in north Africa. This is a global threat and it will require a global response. It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.
It requires a response that is patient and painstaking, that is tough but also intelligent, but above all has an absolutely iron resolve and that is what we will deliver over these coming years.
It will also require countries to work together and I will use our chairmanship of the G8 this year to make sure this issue is right at the top of the agenda, where it belongs.
[Asked if he was satisfied the Algerian government did everything that could have been done to save lives, Cameron said:] No one should underestimate the difficulties of responding to an attack on this scale with 30 terrorists absolutely determined to take lives, and we should recognise all the Algerians have done to work with us and to help and co-ordinate with us, and I'd like to thank them for that.
And we should also recognise that the Algerians too have seen lives lost amongst their soldiers, so I think it is very important to make that point.
[Asked if the current al-Qaida threat from north Africa is on a similar level to the threat from Afghanistan 10 years ago, he said:] It is different in scale but there are similarities.
What we face is an extremist, Islamist, violent al-Qaida-linked terrorist group, just as we have to deal with that in Pakistan and in Afghanistan.
[Source: The Guardian, London, 20Jan13]
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