4:26 am - Wednesday January 16, 2019

We will not be cowed down: David Cameron

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United States President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have said their countries “will not be cowed by barbaric killers,” following the beheading of a second American journalist by Islamic State militants.

In an opinion piece for The Times newspaper Thursday published hours before a NATO summit was due to get underway in Wales, the two leaders said it “must strengthen its alliance.” Those who advocated an isolationist approach “misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century,” they wrote.

“To the east, Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal, self-declared annexation of Crimea and its troops on Ukrainian soil threatening a sovereign nation state,” they wrote. “To the south, there is an arc of instability from North Africa and the Sahel to the Middle East.” Regional aggression and the prospect of foreign fighters returning home from places like Iraq and Syria “threaten the security of British and American people, and the wider world,” they continued.

Russia and the conflict in Ukraine are likely to dominate the two-day summit in Newport, Wales. But NATO leaders will also be discussing terrorism after the beheading of two US journalists by the militant Islamic State and its threat to kill a British hostage.

Early Thursday, Cameron refused to rule out joining the United States in carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State.

“I certainly don’t rule anything out. We should pursue our national interests,” he told the BBC.

“We mustn’t see this as something where you have a Western intervention over the heads of neighbouring states and leaving others to pick up the pieces.” French President Francois Hollande has spoken of the need for a “political, humanitarian and, if necessary, military response that respects international law.” France would continue talking to its partners about a coordinated response “in keeping with a global threat that has become serious,” the presidency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in their joint article, Obama and Cameron urged NATO countries to meet their commitments to spend 2 per cent of gross domestic product on defence. Only four of NATO’s 28 members currently did so, they said.

They also said NATO must continue “to ensure a persistent presence in eastern Europe, making clear to Russia that we will always uphold our Article 5 commitments to collective self-defence.” This should be backed up with a “multinational rapid response force”, they wrote. They also advocated more support for Kurdish and Iraqi security forces fighting Islamic State.


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