European Foreign Ministers weigh in on the conflict in Syria, elections in Ukraine and the crisis in Venezuela at a meeting in Brussels.
CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi explains.
Hundreds of foreign jihadist fighters held in Syria represent a “time bomb” and could escape and threaten the West unless countries do more to take them back, the Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed authorities holding them said on Monday.
The fate of foreign fighters who joined Islamic State, as well as of their wives and children, has become more pressing in recent days as U.S.-backed fighters plan an assault to capture the last enclave of the group’s self-styled Caliphate.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday European countries must do more to take them back or “we will be forced to release them”. But European countries say there is no simple solution. Fighters must be vetted and prosecuted if they return.
“It is clearly not as easy as what has been put forward in the United States,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday ahead of a Brussels meeting with EU counterparts. “These people could only then come to Germany if we can ensure they are immediately put in custody. It’s not clear to me how all that can be guaranteed.
Ukraine’s foreign minister asked the European Union on Monday for hundreds of millions of euros in loans and aid for infrastructure and businesses in its troubled east and south, regions he said Russia was trying to “suffocate”.
EU foreign ministers were discussing increasing support for Ukraine, which holds a presidential election next month in tough conditions. Russia annexed its Crimea peninsula in 2014 and backs armed separatists in its eastern industrial Donbas region.
The EU’s top diplomat also confirmed the bloc would put more Russians under sanctions over Moscow’s standoff with Kiev in the Azov Sea, to the southeast of Ukraine.
Story by Reuters and CGTN.