CANBERRA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called for greater global cooperation to prevent terrorists from receiving ransom payments.
In a speech to a No Money for Terror conference, Payne urged Australia's international partners to be steadfast in refusing to pay ransoms for foreign nationals kidnapped by terrorists.
She described money as oxygen for terrorist groups, saying that ransoms being paid are keeping such groups alive.
"It makes no sense for nation-states to fund both sides of the battle: where we pay with blood to mount ever more complex and risky counter-terrorism operations, and then we allow terrorists to nourish their recovery through kidnap for ransom or the other forms of terrorist financing," Payne said.
Payne, who previously served as the defence minister between 2015 and 2018, cited a United Nations report which found that 8,937 people were kidnapped by terrorists in 2017 alone.
She called for a return to 2004 when 15 countries participated in the Hostage Working Group during the Iraq War.
The working group enabled members to pool their military and law enforcement resources to rescue kidnap victims with members prohibited from paying ransoms.
"Nations were not left on their own to find their own solution using only their own resources," she said.
"Such an approach could be examined once more and extended more widely."
"It is clearly not in our collective national interests to pay ransoms. Paying more ransoms means suffering more kidnappings, and then the demands for higher ransoms per kidnapping will surely follow," she added.