FT Thursday 4th of September 2014

Cameron to hold talks with Obama on ISIS threat

It is looking increasingly likely that Britain will join the US in executing air strikes against ISIS. David Cameron and Barack Obama have planned talks at this week’s NATO summit over the issue of increased British involvement in the fight against the Islamic militants. This week a British jihadist was filmed beheading a second hostage in response to US air strikes. ISIS has threatened that the next hostage will be British. Public opinion in UK is still heavily against becoming embroiled in the conflict, although senior figures from all three of the main UK parties have made calls for limited air strikes. It is thought that public opinion against ISIS could increase exponentially in the event of a British hostage being executed. The NATO summit, held in Wales, will address both the threat of ISIS and increased Russian antagonism in Eastern Ukraine.

 

A key area of contention between the alliance members is the issue of hostage payments. The UK and US have remained steadfast in their historical refusal to pay ransom. In comparison, French, Italian and German leaders have been accused of providing money to terrorists through expensive ransom payments of $10million plus per hsotage. The UK and US argue that such payments increase the likelihood of future hostages being taken, making the entire process counterintuitive.

France halts delivery of warship to Russia

 

The French government appears to have ceded to pressure from its EU and NATO allies and postponed the delivery of an expensive helicopter attack ship to Russia. President Hollande had come under heavy criticism for his decision to honour a contract worth over £1bn. The French built ship had been due to be based in the port of Sevastapol, Crimea the former Ukrainian territory annexed by Vladimir Putin earlier this year. Increased Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine appears to have convinced Hollande that delivery of the ship at this current time would be politically untenable, although the government has declared that this is a postponement rather than a cancellation. France would be due to pay over £1bn in fines if it failed to deliver the ship to Russia permanently.


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