Coalition Defies Hostage-Takers

Ten allied countries have joined in a campaign originated by Bulgaria (search) and promoted by the United States to notify hostage-takers in Iraq (search) that they should not expect concessions to liberate their captives.

Britain, Slovakia, Singapore, New Zealand, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Denmark, Australia and Albania were identified Thursday by the State Department as issuing statements ruling out concessions along with Bulgaria and the United States.

All are part of a 31-nation, U.S.-led coalition that has troops in Iraq. Britain, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary and Latvia all have reported the death of military service members.

The United States, with by far the largest contingent, 138,000, has reported 917 deaths since the beginning of military operations in March 2003.

State Department (search) spokesman Richard Boucher said he expected other countries in the coalition to issue statements, as well.