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Trump, Macron spar over need to return fighters from ISIS

Europe | December 4, 2019 2:11:19 AM IST
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London [UK], Dec 4 (Sputnik/ANI): US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron appeared at odds on Tuesday during a press conference here when the two leaders discussed efforts to take back people who joined the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

"Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you. You can take every one you want," Trump told Macron at the start of a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

The quip produced a brief moment of tension when Macron replied: "Let's be serious."

Trump then praised Macron's political savvy in delivering what he called a great non-answer to a question on whether France would take back citizens who joined the ISIS.

When asked whether France should do more to return ISIS terrorists, Macron said that jailed European fighters, many captured by US-allied Kurdish allies in Syria, represent a minor problem compared with an ongoing buildup of the terrorists from the group on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

"The No. 1 priority," Macron said, "is to get rid of ISIS."

Trump then replied: "This is why you are a great politician because that was one of the greatest non-answers I have ever heard. But that's okay."

Of about 2,000 foreign fighters held by US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria, an estimated 800 are thought to be from Europe, according to media reports. The estimate does not include thousands of ISIS terrorists lodged in Iraqi prisons. (Sputnik/ANI)