WASHINGTON, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – The United States calls for partner nations not to pay ransom for kidnap victims to help fight global terrorism, US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen announced on Thursday.
"Terrorist organizations - ISIL included - use random money to fund a full range of other violent activities. Refusing to pay ransoms to terrorists, therefore, not only makes it less likely that Americans will be taken hostage, but it also deprives terrorists of funding critical to their deadly aspiration and operations," Cohen said, speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.
According to Cohen, a "no ransom" policy would avoid bankrolling the terrorists.
"We maintain this policy not to be cold-hearted. To the contrary, at the [US] President's direction, we use all of our military, intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic capabilities to secure the release of American hostages. The attempt made his summer by US force to rescue hostages being held by ISIL reflects this commitment," Cohen continued.
Cohen also said that not every country turns out to be committed to the resolutions, as IS received some $20 million in ransom payments this year.
"That means that not everybody is as committed to this no-ransoms policy as certainly as we are," Cohen said.
"The trick is translating this into practice and being committed as a matter of fact to a policy and approach that is becoming a broader international norm," Cohen added, saying that "requires some very hard choices to be made, and recognition of the importance of adopting a no ransoms policy as a means to protect all of our citizens."
Two American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff have been kidnapped and beheaded by IS fighters last summer. IS said they are killing the hostages in retaliation for US-led air strikes targeting IS militants.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control. A US-led coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.