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EU unveils $1.14 bn plan to fight IS 

Brussels, Feb 6 (IANS/EFE) The European Union (EU) Friday announced a comprehensive strategy to fight the Islamic State (IS) militants, allocating one billion euros ($1.14 billion) in additional funding over the next two years.

The funds allocated would be for existing initiatives as well as those being planned, EFE reported.

“This package will strengthen our actions to help restore peace and security in a region (Iraq, Syria and neighbouring areas) that is close to us and that has been ravaged by terrorism and violence for far too long,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

“The murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh just days ago is further proof that terrorism has no boundaries and that Muslims are the first victims of Da’esh (the Arabic acronym for IS). We face common challenges and common threats,” the statement said.

Mogherini affirmed: “We are now better equipped to do more together — with our member states, regional partners and the international community — in political and diplomatic terms, as well as through aid and on security. We can now better tackle the root causes of instability and violence.”

With this substantial package, the EU would ensure steady and predictable funding for relief, stabilisation and development in the region, as well as countering the threat posed by terrorist groups like IS, the statement added.

These political, social, and humanitarian measures are mainly aimed at Syria and Iraq, but also will extend to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

“About 40 percent of the new financial assistance will be channelled in the form of life-saving humanitarian assistance within Syria and Iraq, as well as neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Roughly three-quarters of this aid will go towards the victims of the Syrian crisis,” said the European Commission.

Jordan and Lebanon will be supported in the areas of security and border management, it noted.

The strategy envisages individual member states and the EU working together to stem the flow of foreign fighters into the region and support Syria’s neighbours in enhancing their border security and countering violent extremism.

Courtesy: IANS

Courtesy: IANS

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