David Cameron has no plans to cancel his long awaited speech on the European Union in the Netherlands on Friday, despite the on-going hostage crisis in Algeria, Downing Street has insisted.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said on Thursday that the situation at the gas facility where militants are holding captive several Algerian and foreign nationals, including “several” Britons was a “very serious and dangerous situation”.
Cameron is due to hold a emergency meeting of the ministerial Cobra committee in London this afternoon to asses the situation in North Africa.
His trip to the Netherlands tomorrow where he is expected to use an Amsterdam speech to set out his plan for a referendum on membership of the EU will go ahead — but arrangements have been made for him to chair a Cobra meeting remotely from The Hague if necessary.
As Algerian troops surrounded a gas facility in the east of the country, No. 10 said the British government had agreed to let the Algerians take the lead on securing the release of the hostages.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said the UK would consider any requests for assistance made by the Algerians – but none had yet been made. “If they had any requests we would consider them,” the spokesperson said.
Downing Street also believes the “nature and extent” of the attack in which one Briton has already died suggests an element of “pre-planning” on the part of the militants.
According to the Algerian government twenty foreign hostages, including Americans, escaped from their captors on Thursday morning.
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