Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trudeau's Drive against Paying Ransoms Will Broaden G7 Position: Official

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Trudeau's Drive against Paying Ransoms Will Broaden G7 Position: Official

Article excerpt

Trudeau urges changes to ransom stance by G7

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SHIMA, Japan - Justin Trudeau is leading a push at the G7 summit that will likely broaden a previous agreement by the leaders to stop paying ransom for the release of kidnapped citizens, Canada's point person at the meeting said Thursday.

Peter Boehm, Trudeau's personal representative at the G7 summit, told reporters in Japan that there's a growing sense around the table that citizens from these major economies can be in danger at any time.

They also believe the problem isn't going away, he said.

"And by paying ransom you are just aiding and abetting the terrorists," said Boehm, who's also Canada's deputy minister of international development.

Trudeau, he added, has been trying to encourage his G7 counterparts inside the fortified, seaside summit to strengthen their position on the issue.

In 2013, the G7 leaders released a joint statement at the end of their meeting saying they "unequivocally reject the payment of ransoms to terrorists" in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution.

The rule, the document said, prevents the payment of ransoms, directly or indirectly, to terrorists designated under the UN al-Qaida sanctions regime.

"We all need to reiterate this commitment and also abide by it," Trudeau told his peers at a working dinner Thursday after the first day of the summit.

Recent events have made the issue of particular concern for Trudeau and his government.

Last month, Canadian hostage John Ridsdel was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines who had demanded a large sum of money in exchange for his release.

Another Canadian, Robert Hall, was kidnapped by the same group and is still being held hostage in the Asian country.

Hall and Ridsdel, along with two other tourists, were captured last September by militants.

After Ridsdel's beheading, Trudeau said Canada would never pay ransom for the release of hostages.

His push on the ransom issue came a couple of days after he reportedly received an apology for Ridsdel's death from Rodrigo Duterte, president-elect of the Philippines. …

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