‘Je suis Bruxellois’: Secretary Kerry Visits Brussels, Affirms U.S. Solidarity

Secretary Kerry visited Brussels today to formally express the condolences of the United States for the loss of life in this week’s terrorist attacks, and to meet with Belgian and European Union officials.

In remarks after a meeting with Prime Minister Charles Michel, Secretary Kerry said, “On behalf of President Obama and all of the American people, I offer our deepest condolences to the people of Belgium and to all of the families of all those individuals who have suffered an inconceivable loss in the last few days.” Secretary Kerry also thanked the Belgian first responders, who responded to the scenes to care for the wounded and to save lives, for their bravery.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, joined by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, delivers a statement to the media at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Brussels, Belgium, on March 25, 2016, as the Secretary visited to pay condolences on behalf of the American people following the twin terrorists attacks earlier in the week on the city and country. [State Department photo]

Reflecting on the days after 9/11 and the support Belgians and other Europeans demonstrated in showing their solidarity during that difficult time, Secretary Kerry reiterated the United States’ strong support to our European allies. He said, “…you showed your solidarity with us, with the victims in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania. And then voices all across Europe declared, ‘Je suis Americain.’ So now, we declare, ‘Je suis Bruxellois; ik ben Brussel’.”

Speaking directly to those who inspired or carried out the attacks in Brussels -- as well as Paris, Ankara, Tunis, San Bernardino, and elsewhere--  Secretary Kerry stated, “We will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred. And we will come back with greater resolve, with greater strength, and we will not rest until we have eliminated your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of this Earth.”

Secretary Kerry reaffirmed the United States support for Belgian efforts to both investigate these attacks and continue contributing to international efforts to counter violent extremism. The efforts of the coalition of 66 nations, including Belgium, are “the very reason that Daesh is resorting to actions outside of the Middle East is that its fantasy of a caliphate is collapsing before their eyes; its territory is shrinking every day; its leaders are being decimated; its revenue sources are dwindling; and its fighters are fleeing,” he noted. Secretary reiterated while that our mission to defeat and destroy Daesh will take time, patience, and persistence, he is “absolutely confident” that we will be successful.

Drawing on the story of an American doctor who helped triage victims nearby after the attack occurred, Secretary Kerry underscore the importance of responding to the killers’ inhumanity by underscoring our own basic decency and humanity ourselves. He noted that our commitment to these values is directly opposite to what Daesh and similar groups represent, stating, “No act of terror can undermine the foundation of our friendship or the values that define our alliance: our fundamental openness, tolerance, and diversity; our pursuit of justice; our dedication to preserving the blessings of freedom for ourselves, our children, and generations to come.”

Reflecting on the irreplaceable loss that occurred as a result of Tuesday’s attacks, Secretary Kerry renewed our vow to come together against a common enemy in order to keep our people safe. He concluded “It is with their memory in our hearts that we must always stand in solidarity as friends, as allies, and partners.”

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Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to participate in a wreath-laying at Brussels Airport in Brussels, Belgium.
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 25, 2016


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