T V Parasuram Washington
The United States has said it will make no concessions to individuals or groups holding American officials or citizens hostage and urged the private companies to follow the same policy.
"The US will use every appropriate resource to gain the safe return of American citizens who are held hostage. At the same time, it is the US government's policy to deny the hostage-takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession," state department spokesman Richard Boucher said unveiling a new policy on abductions.
Urging private companies and citizens to follow the same policy, he said: "It is internationally accepted that governments are responsible for the safety and welfare of persons within the borders of their nations."
"Aware of both the hostage threat and public security shortcomings in many parts of the world, the US has developed enhanced physical and personal security programmes for US personnel and established cooperative arrangements with the US private sector," he said.
The new policy requires federal review of every abduction that takes place overseas to determine whether US intervention -- diplomatic to military -- is warranted, Boucher said. "It's an attempt to dissuade people who might consider taking hostages from doing so in some vain hope that they might gain a benefit thereby."
On the ongoing hostage cases of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan and Christian missionaries Martin and Garcia Burnham in the Philippines, he said: "The overall policy is an attempt to discourage people from kidnapping Americans."
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