[Edition 89] Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has responded to the possible seizure of Australian hostages by Islamic terrorists by sending hostage negotiators to Baghdad to carry out the government’s policy of not negotiating with terrorists.
[Edition 89] Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has responded to the possible seizure of Australian hostages by Islamic terrorists by sending hostage negotiators to Baghdad. The negotiators were there to carry out the government’s policy of not negotiating with terrorists.
“We need negotiators on the ground in Iraq so that they can pointedly refuse to negotiate with the terrorists,” Downer explained. “They will be ringing the terrorists directly to emphasise that no deal will be done. And if, in the course of articulating our absolute refusal to capitulate to their demands, we happen to stumble upon on a mutually beneficial arrangement that sees the hostages released, then so much the better for everyone,” he said.
Downer defended the decision to send the negotiators to Baghdad even though no concrete evidence of the Australians’ seizure has been presented. “While they no-one seems to be missing two security consultants, the kidnappers have received a blurry video of unnamed people in hoods,” he said. “So we’ve got far lot more evidence for sending negotiators to Iraq than we had for sending troops.”
Opposition Leader Mark Latham accused Downer of breaching the caretaker conventions by not briefing the Opposition on the information which led him to send the negotiators. Latham has insisted that the ALP be allowed to make its own rash decisions based on the government’s dodgy intelligence on Iraq.