Obama, Cameron discuss hostage situation in Algeria over phone
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Less than a day after the Islamic militants held hostages, including Americans and Britons, in an attack on a gas refinery in Algeria, U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday discussed the hostage situation with British Prime Minister David Cameron on telephone.
In a statement, the White House said that both the leaders vowed to support France-led international community efforts to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali. The telephonic conversation happened hours after Algerian military launched air and ground strikes to free hostages from their kidnappers.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta assured that the government would take all necessary steps to rescue American hostages in gas attack in southern Algeria.
In a statement to the American Forces Press Service while flying to Italian capital Rome, Panetta said that he is not sure about the number of Americans held, but is in close contacts with Algerian and British governments on the situation.
The defense secretary neither confirmed nor ruled out any links of terrorist attack in Algeria with French military operation in Mali as claimed by the Islamic kidnappers. He disclosed that he is in consultation with Italian, Spanish and Portugal about Mali situation.
“I believe that there is a consensus that France took the right step here to … deter al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from taking even further action there,” he said.