Obama clears the way for hostages’ families to pay ransom

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the U.S. government will better address the needs of families whose loved ones are held hostage overseas.

He says the U.S. will continue its policy of not paying a government ransom, but that families have never been prosecuted for trying to pay for the release of hostages.

He tells families: “We will not abandon you. We will stand by you.”

Obama’s remarks at the White House on Wednesday came as he announced the results of a six-month review of hostage policies.

The review was prompted by families who complained about threats of prosecution — and about sparse, confusing and sometimes contradictory information from the government.

Obama says “that’s totally unacceptable.”

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