G-7 foreign ministers discuss terrorism, migration crisis in Japan

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) top industrialized nations met on Sunday in the western Japanese city of Hiroshima to discuss terrorism and the migration crisis in Europe.

The two-day talks come in the wake of a series of fatal terrorist attacks in Brussels.

"We talked this afternoon about how the G-7 can lead the global response to terrorism," British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

The bloc groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

"Supporting the UN secretary general's initiative to counter violent extremism, working bilaterally to exchange more information between our intelligence and security services, working together to cut off the flow of finance and propaganda means for international terrorist organizations, these are all important steps," Hammond said.

Belgian prosecutors said Sunday the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks on Brussels had been planning a new attack on France but ran out of time.

The information emerged following the arrest Friday of Paris terrorism suspect Mohamed Abrini, who later confessed to also being the fugitive third attacker in Brussels airport, where two others set off suicide bombs.

Abrini was seized alongside five others as part of the investigation into the suicide attacks on March 22 at the airport and a Brussels underground station that killed 32.

In November, 130 people died in attacks on bars, restaurants, a sports stadium and a concert venue in Paris.

In Hiroshima, the ministers also discussed the migration crisis in Europe. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida stressed the importance of mutual cooperation between the G-7 states to tackle the issue, according to Japanese government officials.

The ministers are also expected to discuss nuclear disarmament and maritime security amid growing tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme and China's increasingly aggressive claims to nearly all of the South China Sea.

North Korea claimed Saturday that it had carried out successful ground tests of a new engine for its intercontinental ballistic missiles, improving the range of its nuclear deterrent.

"I hope that a strong message of peace, stability and prosperity will be sent out to the world at the Hiroshima G-7 foreign ministers' meeting," Kishida said at the start of their talks.

Kishida said he hoped the meeting would be an opportunity "to send out a strong message toward a world without nuclear weapons" as it is being held in Hiroshima, a city devastated by the US atomic bombing in 1945.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier missed Sunday's events due to a delay in his arrival, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.

The leaders of the G7 nations will hold a summit meeting late May in Mie prefecture, central Japan.

Last update: Sun, 10/04/2016 - 18:39

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