Cameron delays controversial EU speech as Algeria crisis worsens
Prime Minister David Cameron has cancelled his trip to Amsterdam where today he was due to speak about Britain’s future in the European Union. The decision to delay the much-anticipated speech has been attributed to the on-going crisis at a gas plant in Algeria where Islamist militants are holding several hostages.
Whilst many were waiting to hear what Cameron had to say on future relations with the European Union, the Prime Minister chose to focus on the crisis at hand. Speaking to the nation yesterday, David Cameron warned that the situation in Algeria could quickly deteriorate.
In his announcement the Prime Minister described the developing situation as “very dangerous” and urged Britain “to prepare ourselves for the possibility of bad news ahead”. The BP gas plant, which was attacked on Wednesday the 16th by gunmen linked to Al – Qaeda, has since been surrounded by Algerian troops who hope to relieve the situation as quickly as possible.
Reports from Algeria have confirmed the death of at least one British worker but as of yet, the number of hostages held at the gas plant is yet to be confirmed. Although the Islamist militants have claimed to be holding 41 foreigners, the exact number is not known with various publications and organisations reporting different figures.
Reasons behind the decision to attack the gas plant are unclear. Indeed whilst the BBC and The Guardian have indicated possible links to the situation in Mali others have suggested the decision to hold hostages indicates that ransom has been the motivation.
Whilst the crisis continues in Algeria, what Cameron’s position on the European Union and Britain’s relationship are remains to be seen, although extracts from Mr Cameron’s speech released on Thursday night reveal he intended to set out a“positive vision for the future of the European Union. A future in which Britain wants, and should want, to play a committed and active part”.