Kerry offers US support to Belgium after attacks

US Secretary of State John Kerry dismisses accusations against Belgium that it had failed to prevent Brussels attacks, offers support in investigation during visit

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel after delivering a joint statement at the Belgian Prime Minister's Residence in Brussels, Belgium, Friday, March 25, 2016.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Brussels on Friday to offer Washington's support to a stricken Belgium after attacks claimed by the DAESH terrorist group that left 31 dead and 300 wounded.

Kerry met Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, as well as the country's King Philippe, as the country tries to come to terms with the attacks amid accusations that authorities could have done more or even prevented them but could not due to intelligence failures.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that one of the attackers in the Brussels suicide bombings -Ibrahim el Bakraoui-  was deported last June from Turkey, which subsequently warned Belgium that he was a terrorist.

Earlier on Thursday, Belgium's interior and justice ministers offered to resign over their failure to track Bakraoui.

Prime Minister Michel asked them to stay on.

Kerry, dismissing criticism of Belgium's failure to track DAESH terrorists, said that the Belgian government had been active in fighting against terrorism before Tuesday's bombings.

"This government has been in place for a year and has moved very forcefully to deal with terrorism, and in fact we had a foreign fighter surge team here a month ago," Kerry told reporters.

Kerry said the United States had offered "anything they need" to investigate the bombings. "They are already taking us up on it, and we will specifically work with them to help in the coordination of the flow of information," he said.

"The United States is praying and grieving with you for the loved ones of those cruelly taken from us, including Americans, and for the many who were injured in these despicable attacks," Kerry added, referring to two US citizens killed in the attacks.


Kerry came to Brussels from Moscow where he had held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on pushing forward a ceasefire in Syria where DAESH has seized huge swathes of territory and where many of its European recruits have been trained and become battle-hardened.

In his first engagement, Kerry met European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker after EU member states pledged on Thursday to step up security cooperation so as to better fight DAESH terrorists.

Belgian police detained six people on Thursday in the course of investigations into Tuesday's suicide bombings, the federal prosecutor's office has said in a statement.

A decision on whether to charge the suspects will reportedly be made on Friday. No further details were available.

TRTWorld and agencies