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Foreign Office Minister updates on Algerian hostage crisis

FCO Minister Alistair Burt: We're pressing Algerian authorities to have access to UK nationals who are at the site so we can support them.

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Speaking outside the Foreign Office earlier this evening, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said:

“As people will be aware, during the course of the day operations have been conducted by Algerian forces in relation to the hostage crisis.

“The Prime Minister has chaired COBR twice and been in touch with his counterpart in Algeria. The Foreign Secretary and I have been in contact with our international partners, with our Embassy in Algiers and various Government agencies have been working with BP in order to give them support and assistance in dealing with the crisis.

“Although details have yet to become final I am afraid we should be under no illusion that there will be some bad and distressing news to follow from this terrorist attack. Those who have been working with the families during the course of the day will continue that work of advice and support, though this will take some time.

“We have already increased our consular staffing in Algiers and we are pressing the Algerian authorities in order to have access to UK nationals involved who are at the site so that we can help with repatriation and evacuation.

“You will appreciate that there is a limit to what I can say at present given ongoing security issues. All our thoughts should be with those who have been caught up in this tragedy and particularly with the families who have already suffered so much distress.”

Published 17 January 2013