David Cameron has promised to crack down on Isis sympathisers, stressing in a new year message that all Britons should have “loyalty” to their country.
The Prime Minister said this year will be a “test of our mettle” as he pledged action to tackle the “poisonous narrative” which led some Britons to turn against their country.
He said the UK should “revel” in its way of life rather than “appease” extremists, and all who live in the country must sign up to its values.
In America, Barack Obama pledged to use his final year as President to force through new measures to curb gun violence. After repeated frustrations in his efforts to introduce new gun control legislation, he said in a new year radio address that he would meet the US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, on 4 January to finalise a set of executive actions on the issue that he can take without the need for congressional approval.
“My new year’s resolution is to move forward on our unfinished business as much as I can,” Mr Obama said. “And I’ll be more frequently asking for your help... That’s especially true for one piece of unfinished business, that’sour epidemic of gun violence.”
Violence provided the theme for several world leaders as they delivered their new year messages. In France, President François Hollande focused on the fight against Isis after November’s attacks in Paris, promising to continue air strikes against the group in the Middle East.
President Vladimir Putin also turned his eye to Syria, praising the Russian military as he addressed those seeing in the new year across the country’s nine time zones. He said: “I would like to extend special greetings to those of our service members fighting international terrorism, defending Russia’s national interests on distant frontiers.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated her mantra “We can do it” as she appealed to Germans to continue welcoming refugees from the Syrian conflict, while at a Mass in the Vatican, Pope Francis offered prayers for a better year and urged an end to “violence and hatred” and to the “false neutrality” to conflicts and the suffering of others.
It seems unlikely Kim Jong-un heard the Pope’s plea. In his televised new year speech, the North Korean leader insisted he was committed to peace with South Korea, but also said he was ready for “a merciless, holy war of justice” should “invasive outsiders and provocateurs touch us even slightly.”