Mr Hugh Robertson said:
Despite the success of military intervention in Mali, there remains a very real threat of kidnap to westerners in areas of the Sahel and North Africa.
Our travel advice provides a detailed assessment of the threat in individual countries. This allows individuals to make informed decisions about where they travel.
The British Government takes the threat to British nationals overseas extremely seriously. The Prime Minister has made the security of British nationals in high threat countries a priority. The UK, along with G8 partners, has committed to reducing terrorist groups’ access to funding by rejecting ransom payments. It is a very tough policy to follow, but we believe that this is the only way to prevent further kidnappings.
During the meeting, Foreign Office officials underlined that the threat makes some areas, which may appear to be attractive destinations, unsafe for tourism.
The threat from groups such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M) and Al Murabitun has been demonstrated by a number of recent attacks including in In Amenas in January this year. Groups like AQ-M rely on kidnap for ransom as their major source of funding and are prepared to go to extreme lengths to secure hostages.
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