ISIS will not dictate UK foreign policy: Hammond

Hammond said Britain would not pay the ransom demands by ISIS

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The United Kingdom’s foreign policy will not be dictated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the militant group that is currently holding two British nationals, British Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond told Al Arabiya News Channel’s New York bureau chief Talal al-Haj during an interview Wednesday.

Hammond said Britain would not pay the ransom demands by ISIS, noting that the payment of ransoms would only lead to further kidnappings.

He also said that removing support for ISIS from moderate Sunnis was key to defeating the radical group, adding that the Iraqi army must undergo reforms to rid itself of all kinds of sectarianism.

Asked about the international community’s previous hesitation in arming Syrian rebels, Hammond described the situation ascomplex, explaining that the Syrian opposition included many elements that turned out to be more moderate than others.

Some of those fighting with ISIS “were with groups that we would have been called part of the moderate opposition at some stage in the past,” Hammond said.

Hammond said that the world was helping the Syrian opposition by training moderate rebels. He also said that the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts in helping the Syrian rebels would “redress the military balance” forcing the Assad regime to “come to for a political setting with the moderate opposition that would allow the formation of a Syrian moderate inclusive government.”

Speaking on recent developments in Yemen, Hammond said the recent escalation of events violated a U.N.-brokered agreement signed on Sunday by the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels.

Hammond also announced he would be co-chairing a Friends of Yemen conference that would be held in New York next week and aims to find solutions to help the Arab country move forward.

Commenting on the Iranian nuclear file, Hammond said there would be a final stage where there will be a solution from all parties that would prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. In the meantime, Iran must present guarantees on the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, he said

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