PM: We Should Not Pay Ransoms For Hostages
David Cameron has urged Nato leaders not to pay ransoms for their countrymen held by terrorists, saying it will only lead to more violence.
He delivered the warning after stating Britain will not pay for the release of the British hostage facing death at the hands of Islamic State extremists (IS).
In a dinner speech at the Nato summit in Wales, Mr Cameron reminded fellow leaders of commitments made at last year's G8 summit in Northern Ireland not to make ransom payments to terror groups.
Speaking ahead of the dinner, Mr Cameron described such payments as "deeply regrettable", adding they were "utterly self-defeating".
He told Sky News the situation of British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines was "desperately difficult", but it would not be right to buy his freedom.
Nonetheless he said he would do everything possible to get him back home safely and was personally overseeing efforts to achieve this.
Two US journalists have already been murdered by IS, who are now threatening to take Mr Haines' life.
Mr Cameron said: "It's a desperately difficult situation, (but) we don't pay ransoms to terrorists when they kidnap our citizens.
"From the intelligence and other information I have seen, there is no doubt this money helps to fuel the crisis that we see in Iraq and Syria."
Mr Cameron told the two-day summit Britain would use "everything we have in our armoury" to defeat IS and put it out of existence.
He did not rule out joining the US in air strikes and even left the door open to attacking IS in Syria without the approval of President Bashar Assad.
However, he appeared to indicate such action was some way off, stressing his immediate priority was to offer support to legitimate regional forces already confronting IS on the ground.
Foremost among these are the Iraqi government in Baghdad and the Kurdish authorities in the north of the country.
"I think sometimes people think that there is no strategy unless it simply consists of air strikes," said Mr Cameron.
"That is not the case. What it needs is a fully-formed strategy to squeeze this from every angle. That is what you are getting from this conference."
The crisis in Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine have topped the agenda at the summit, which has seen protests by hundreds of anti-war campaigners.
Nato is under pressure to harden its response to Russian incursions into Ukraine, even more so after reports the EU will announce a new package of sanctions against Moscow on Friday.
It comes after Mr Cameron, US president Barack Obama and other senior Nato leaders held talks with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko at the summit.
The 28 Nato members are also expected to finalise plans for a new Rapid Reaction Force that will number around 4,000 troops, on notice to deploy within 48 hours.
Logistic and planning teams will be stationed in Poland and the Baltic States along with key equipment to speed up any deployment.
Nato Secretary General Anders Rasmussen said: "We are still witnessing Russian involvement in destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine."
He urged Moscow to draw back its forces from the Ukrainian border and withdraw support from the separatist rebels.
Ahead of the summit, Mr Obama and Mr Cameron visited a local primary school.
Mr Obama greeted the pupils in Welsh saying "bore da" - which means "good morning" - and then listened to a welcome message, thanking him for being the first serving US president to visit Wales.
The Nato summit is the first to be held in the UK since the collapse of the Soviet Union - the last time the alliance met in Britain was in London in 1990.
(c) Sky News 2014