In a statement released by Downing Street, Mr Brown said: 'Clearly this is a very distressing development. We are taking this very seriously.
'There are many people working behind the scenes trying to find a solution.
'I raised the case of these men with Prime Minister Maliki. We both share a desire to see them returned safely to their families. I call on those holding the hostages to release them immediately and unconditionally.'
Or what, Gordon? What are you going to do now that you haven't been doing for the past year? The Foreign Secretary elaborated-
'As in the case of previous messages from the hostage takers, the Government emphasises the humanitarian appeal of the families for the men's release...Our officials in Iraq continue to be ready to work with anyone prepared to help in this case...There is still a long way to go. We will continue to work with all those who seek peace and reconciliation.'
In short, the British government is apparently doing nothing other than asking nicely. It seems they have not realised that humanitarian appeals have little effect on murderous terrorists in the kidnapping business. I would have thought that an approach more like this would show quicker results.