Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa O. Monaco's Visit to Belgium
Today, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco concluded a series of meetings in Brussels, Belgium with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Jan Jambon, Minister of Justice Koen Greens, and other Belgian security officials, police, and federal prosecutors. Ms. Monaco led a U.S. delegation, at the President's direction, to follow up on our joint counterterrorism efforts following the March 22 ISIL terrorist attacks in Brussels. The delegation included John Mulligan, Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and General Frank Taylor, Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. Discussions with Belgian officials focused on our whole-of-government approach to information sharing and counterterrorism cooperation with our Belgian partners and solidarity with the Belgian people.
Ms. Monaco praised the work of Belgian intelligence and law enforcement services in confronting the threat from ISIL and noted that Belgium is a vital partner in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Ms. Monaco discussed with Belgian officials our shared efforts to disrupt terrorist plotting against the United States and Europe and to degrade and destroy ISIL. They also discussed a number of ways we can enhance our counterterrorism cooperation in the wake of the March attacks in Brussels, to include intensifying our information sharing and sharing lessons the United States learned following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Ms. Monaco and Belgian officials agreed to advance a foreign terrorist fighter work plan the U.S. Foreign Fighter Surge Team developed with its Belgian counterparts immediately following the attacks, to disrupt the recruitment and flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria and Iraq. Ms. Monaco and the delegation also discussed with their Belgian counterparts countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts, to include our continued joint cooperation through the Strong Cities network, which includes Antwerp, to share best practices on counter-radicalization and prevention at the municipal level.
Ms. Monaco and the delegation also met with European Union Counterterrorism Coordinator Giles de Kerchove to discuss how we can support EU efforts to strengthen counterterrorism coordination and information sharing amongst its members. They discussed the importance of quickly and effectively implementing the European Union's directive on passenger name record (PNR) collection and sharing, to bolster the EU's border security and efforts to disrupt foreign fighter flows.