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US vetoes UN resolution over Islamic State fighters’ return

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United Nations: The United States vetoed a UN resolution Monday calling for the prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of all those engaged in terrorism-related activities, saying it didn’t call for the repatriation from Syria and Iraq of foreign fighters for the Islamic State extremist group and their families which is “the crucial first step.”

US Ambassador Kelly Craft said the resolution, “supposedly designed to reinforce international action on counter-terrorism, was worse than no resolution at all.” She dismissed it as “a cynical and willfully oblivious farce.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 15-member Security Council voted by email. The result was 14 countries in favor and only the U.S. opposed. It was announced by the current council president, Indonesia’s U.N. Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, whose country sponsored the resolution.

In her statement explaining the U.S. veto, Craft pointed to her comments at a council meeting on counter-terrorism last week. She sstressed then that repatriation and accountability for crimes by fighters for the Islamic State extremist group, also known as ISIS, and their family members are essential so they “do not become the nucleus of an ISIS 2.0.”

“It is incomprehensible that other members of this council were satisfied with a resolution that ignores the security implications of leaving foreign terrorist fighters to plot their escape from limited detention facilities and abandoning their family members to suffer in camps without recourse, opportunities, or hope,” she said on Monday.

Craft said last week the Trump administration was disappointed that Indonesian efforts to draft “a meaningful resolution … were stymied by council members’ refusal to include repatriation.” That was a reference to Western Europeans, especially, including Britain and France, who have opposed the return of IS fighters and their families, except in the case of orphans and some children. The British government says those who are in custody in Syria and Iraq should face justice there rather than going on trial in the U.K.

Craft said the U.S. brings its citizens home and prosecutes them when appropriate. She quoted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as saying: “We want every country to take their citizens back. That’s step one. It’s imperative that they do so.”(AP)

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