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‘Sad day for Europe’, tearful EU foreign policy chief says

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini leaves after reacting to news of the Belgium blasts in Amman

The attacks which killed 34 people in Brussels and shut down the Belgian capital on Tuesday brought the same suffering to Europe which the Middle East endures on a daily basis, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said.

In a news conference in Jordan which Federica Mogherini cut short after tears welled in her eyes, she said Europe and the Middle East should tackle together the radicalisation and violence which brought grief to both parts of the world.

“It’s a very sad day for Europe as Europe and its capital are suffering the same pain that this region has known every single day – plagued in Syria, plagued elsewhere,” she said in the Jordanian capital Amman.

Jordan is hosting more than 600,000 UN-registered refugees from the five-year-old conflict in Syria, across its northern border, which has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced more than 10 million.

“It is quite clear that the roots of the pain we are suffering around our region are very much the same and that we are united in not only suffering our victims, but also reacting to this acts and preventing radicalization and violence together,” Mogherini said.

One of Tuesday’s explosions struck a train close to European Union institutions in Brussels.

“You will understand today is a difficult day,” Mogherini said at the end of her statement.

As Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Joudeh began to speak, Mogherini appeared to fight back tears before shaking her head. “I’m sorry,” she said, putting her head briefly on his shoulders and walking off the platform with him.

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