Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has voiced the belief that the long ongoing regional competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran was jeopardising security situation in Europe.
“There is a competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Cold War, which influences the instability and insecurity of the region, but it also has impact on Europe. So we want in Europe to defend our geopolitical interests. They are not necessarily the same as those if the US”, Michel told reporters on the sidelines of the first-ever summit between the European Union and the League of Arab States.
The prime minister went on saying that through its presence at the summit, Belgium wanted to encourage “stability and security through partnership” and to contribute to fighting terrorism and tackling migration in the “most structured way”.
The summit started in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh on 24 February.
Int’l Legal Body on Foreign Jihadist Fighters Could Be Created
The Belgian Prime Minister continue speaking about the security, saying that people who have left their home states to fight for jihadist groups in Syria or Iraq should be judged mostly in the countries where the crimes were committed, or an international legal procedure could be instituted to deal with foreign fighters.
“We wish that, for maximum, the legal rulings take place in the region where crimes have been committed. Or there could be a form of international justice and we make all possible contacts here to explain our position. It’s possible to create a coalition that would share this point of view”, Michel told reporters on the sidelines of the summit of the European Union and the League of Arab States in Egypt.
The prime minister added that it would not be easy to set up an international legal procedure, but pointed out that European courts would have trouble looking into crimes committed in other countries.
“The big difficulty for us [is] if we need to judge a person who committed crimes in Iraq in Syria from the EU states and that’s very difficult for European magistrates to find necessary elements, proof to defend the legal case… There are two priorities for us — guarantee the security and try to implement the international legal body where we could bring together parties to do it”, the prime minister said.
The potential return of radicalised foreign jihadists to Europe has been in the spotlight, on and off, for several years now, but the disputes have lately increased over whether to let extremists back in or not.
As Daesh after losing control over vast territories in Syria and Iraq was defending its last stronghold, US President Donald Trump asked Europe to “take back over 800 Isis [IS] fighters” that the US captured in Syria and put them on trial. Some European countries have been reportedly unwilling to take back people who associated with terrorists, even if they were not involved in military operations.