Croatia Warns about ISIL Fighters Returning to Region

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About a thousand people from Southeast Europe went to fight for ISIL, and 300 have returned, says Croatian Foreign Minister Stier.

Croatian Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier said that a little under than a thousand people went to fight for the Islamic State from the Southeast Europe, and 300 have returned. He also said that yesterday’s meeting of the global coalition against ISIL in Washington was an important gathering where Croatia demonstrated its commitment to the coalition and that it is very active in solving the issue of foreign fighters – people from Europe who went to fight for the Islamic State and have returned, reports Večernji List on March 23, 2017.

Stier said that good results had been achieved in cooperation with countries of Southeast Europe, and that in 2016 nobody from the region went to fight for the Islamic state. “We need to pay attention to the possibility of radicalization, so we are still very active. Together with our allies, we are working on the stabilization of the whole area”, said Stier.

Asked whether the return of foreign fighters to the region was a real danger for Croatia, Stier answered that Croatian intelligence community was working very actively in order to prevent the region from becoming a venue for radicalization and that cooperation was the key instrument. “Thanks to very high level of integration of the Muslim community into the Croatian society, we do not have this problem. However, there is such a problem in some other countries of Southeast Europe. We want to work with them and our allies in order to prevent radicalization”, said Stier.

Asked about the relationship of the new US administration towards the region, Stier said it was important to send a message that cooperation between the United States and the European Union is extremely necessary for the countries to be able to continue to work on stabilization.

“Discussions such as these which we had today in Washington show that there will be political will coming from the US administration to support any policy that would lead to such stabilization. For us, it is especially important to support the Euro-Atlantic path and stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to encourage those changes that are necessary in order to avoid new instability. In this respect, we have discussed how to encourage the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to change the electoral law by this June, as has been sought by the Bosnian Constitutional Court”, added Stier.

He stressed that the equality of the three constituent peoples was one of the key elements to help the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that Croatian policies towards that country were proactive and friendly.

Stier concluded by saying that the Adriatic region had to be an area of ​​cooperation, and that the accession of Montenegro to NATO will strengthen the security of Croatia.


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