By Peter Hoskin
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As we heard
from Philip Hammond earlier, the hostage situation in Algeria now appears
to be over. William Hague has since provided more detail, speaking to the BBC.
Here, courtesy of PoliticsHome, is a transcript:
Five British nationals and one UK
resident who are either deceased or unaccounted for: “The priority now is to
work out exactly what has happened to every British national who might have
been caught up in this terrible situation.
I indicated this afternoon that we
thought there were fewer than 10 who were unaccounted for. And on the basis of
all the information we have this evening, we believe that there are five
British nationals and one UK resident who are either deceased or unaccounted
for, in addition to the one fatality that we had already confirmed.
Obviously we’re working hard to get definitive information about
each individual. We’re in touch with all of the families concerned, and we’re
working closely with BP and with police forces across the country to give those
families the support they need at this very difficult time.”
A lot to be learnt: “We’ve been in
close touch with them today, and of course in proceeding days. They’ve
certainly worked very hard to try to save the lives of people from other
countries. I think it’s actually too early pass judgement on it. We are still
in this phase of working with them, and with other countries, trying to get the
information. So I don’t want, at this stage, to pass judgement on any details
of the operation, some of which of course we don’t yet have.
They are a sovereign country. That is
up to them. Of course it’s right for this country to offer our help. But as I
say, I don’t want to, at this stage, enter into a criticism or judgement
because there will be a lot to be learnt yet about this operation. Our focus is
very much on getting British nationals who have survived this ordeal back to
the UK and away from that area, and working out exactly what has happened to
those who are deceased or unaccounted for.”
An aircraft is available: “We’ve sent aircraft to Algeria. An aircraft is
available to bring home some of those nationals I’ve been talking about,
getting away from the area. They should be coming home that way.”
And here is the statement that David Cameron made this
spoke to the Algerian Prime Minister again this afternoon – and he confirmed
that, while the site is still dangerous and there may be explosives that will
need to be dealt with, the terrorist incident has now effectively ended.
One British citizen has already been killed in this brutal attack and we
now fear the worst for the lives of five others who are not yet accounted for.
that the whole country shares my sympathy and concern for everyone who has been
caught up in this incident, and for their friends and families. It is our
priority now to get people home as quickly as possible and to look after the
survivors. Many are already home or on their way back.
me be clear. There is no justification for taking innocent life in this way.
Our determination is stronger than ever to work with allies right around
the world to root out and defeat this terrorist scourge and those who encourage