French PM vows ‘no negotiation’ with Algeria hostage-takers

Manuel Valls said there would be “no discussion, no negotiation and we will never give in to blackmail.” (File photo: Reuters)

France’s prime minister Tuesday vowed there would be “no discussion, no negotiation” with an Algerian group linked to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants that has claimed the kidnapping of a French citizen and stressed Paris would continue air strikes on the extremists.

Manuel Valls told French radio there would be “no discussion, no negotiation and we will never give in to blackmail. Even if we are of course very worried after the authentication of this video.”

The group, Jund al-Khilifa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), promised in a video message to kill the hostage, Herve Pierre Gourdel, within 24 hours unless France stopped its air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.

“If we give in, if we retreat an inch, we will be handing them victory,” Valls told Europe 1 radio while on a visit to Germany.

The video footage was confirmed as authentic by the French government, and came after ISIS issued a statement urging Muslims to kill Westerners whose nations have joined a campaign to battle the militant group.

On Friday, France conducted its first air strikes in Iraq but has said it will not carry out such operations in Syria.

“These strikes, this engagement will of course continue,” promised Valls.

“France is a great nation which completely lives up to its responsibilities,” added the prime minister.

The country “cannot be scared of those who threaten it in this way,” he said, but added: “I want to convince our compatriots ... that we have never been up against such a threat, in France and in Europe.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45