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UN resolution on foreign militants leaves U.S out

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THE United States’ diplomatic isolation widened yesterday when it stood alone in the UN Security Council to veto a resolution on the fate of thousands of foreign jihadists being held in Syria and Iraq.

The Security Council’s other 14 members supported the Indonesia-drafted resolution that encouraged countries to prosecute, rehabilitate and then reintegrate into society their nationals who had enlisted in foreign terrorist causes.

The United States refused to back the resolution because it did not demand countries actively repatriate foreign fighters who traveled to the Middle East to join terrorist groups Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The U.S. veto highlights the growing divide between Washington and its European allies and Arab countries that have refused to commit to taking back foreign fighters since allied forces crushed the Islamic State over a year ago.

Thousands of foreign fighters and their families remain in prison camps in Syria and Iraq, as countries resist taking them back.

Washington, whose insistence on including the word repatriation in the text was originally backed by Moscow, has long pressed the idea of repatriating foreign fighters detained in Syria and Iraq.

Some European countries, including France and Belgium, have adopted a case-by-case approach to repatriating the children or even wives of jihadist fighters held in the Middle East.

According to report, the aim of the Indonesian text was to encourage actions that would combat recidivism among those who joined extremists.

However, most of the other countries have preferred that their nationals stand trial and face punishment in the countries their crimes were committed, putting the onus mainly on Iraq to deal with them.

“The Indonesian resolution before us, supposedly designed to reinforce international action on counterterrorism, was worse than no resolution at all,” U.S. UN Ambassador Kelly Craft said.

“It fails to even include reference to the crucial first step, repatriation to countries of origin or nationality,” she emphasised.

Another diplomat who spoke on anonymity was quoted to have frowned at the use of veto which he said has become very cheap and damaging to cross-Atlantic relations.

Further report says, the decision by the United States to use its veto power was striking and seemed to show Washington’s growing irritation with its European partners, with whom it had until now worked to reach consensus on international affairs.

It will be recalled that earlier this month, the Europeans rejected a U.S. draft resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran as part of a U.S. effort to re-establish international sanctions on Tehran.

Last week, during a debate on counterterrorism, Craft slammed the Europeans for putting their head in the sand when facing the serious threat posed by foreign fighters, just as she said they were doing with Iran.

The U.S. veto was a blow to Indonesia, which had made the text one of the priorities of its presidency of the Security Council this month.

The deployment of the veto has been described by anonymous diplomats as illogical and a childish move by the United States.

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