Faulkner praises Smith’s captain’s knock

It wasn’t a traditional Twenty20 innings but Steve Smith delivered a classical captain’s knock to revive Australia’s hopes of winning a tournament they never have.

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Smith’s unbeaten 61 powered Australia to a total of 4-193 and a 21-run win over Pakistan in Friday’s World Twenty20 clash in Chandigarh.

The result means Australia’s final pool game against India, which starts at 1am AEDT on Monday, will effectively be a quarter-final.

The winner advances to a semi-final, while the loser will be eliminated.

Smith only struck seven boundaries but brought up his half-century in 35 balls and finished with a strike-rate of almost 150.

“Steve batted exceptionally well today but I am not surprised. I have seen him play T20 over here in the IPL and he does that all the time,” allrounder James Faulkner said.

“He was a class act.

“After losing the first two wickets it was beautiful timing to get a bit of a platform.”

The 26-year-old was under immense pressure, with a loss likely to have ended his side’s World T20 title hopes.

Australia, having suffered middle-overs collapses of 6-57 and 4-22 in their previous two World T20 matches, slipped to 3-57 against Pakistan before Smith steadied.

“We had a massive focus on batting through the middle and obviously here in India it is something you really need to nail,” Faulkner said.

“To keep some wickets in the shed for the last four, five or six overs.”

Shane Watson was the man to prosper from the platform laid by Smith and Glenn Maxwell, clubbing three sixes in an entertaining knock of 44 not out.

It was the first major score of the tournament for both Smith and Watson, who shuffled down to No.6 in a new-look batting order.

“People see figures. Yeah he (Smith) missed out the first couple of games but at the same time, every time he walks into the nets he hits the ball exactly the same,” Faulkner said.

“That’s the same with Shane, he missed out in the first couple games but he came off a hundred (in a T20 against India in January).

“Coming in when he did, under the pump, to hit the ball from from ball one was exceptional … it’s no surprise he whacked it tonight.”

Radovan Karadzic jailed for 40 years for Srebrenica genocide

Karadzic, 70, the former president of the breakaway Bosnian Serb Republic, was found guilty on 10 out of 11 charges brought by war crimes prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

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He would appeal the decision, his legal adviser said.

“The accused was the sole person within Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Republic) with the power to prevent the killing of the Bosnian Muslim males,” said presiding judge O-Gon Kwok, in a reference to the 8,000 killed at Srebrenica.

“Far from preventing it, he ordered they be transferred elsewhere to be killed,” the judge said.

Listen to the SBS Radio report on this story:

Karadzic was acquitted of one count of genocide in various towns across Bosnia during the war of the 1990s.

The three-judge panel said Karadzic was “at the apex of power,” heading the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic and Supreme Commander of its armed forces, when crimes were committed by his troops.

Judges said the 44-month siege of Sarajevo could not have happened without his support; that he committed crimes against humanity in an attempt to purge Muslims and Croats from parts of Bosnia; and that he had intended to eliminate the Bosnian Muslim males of the town of Srebrenica.

Karadzic’s legal adviser Peter Robinson said Karadzic was “disappointed by the verdict, astonished by the reasoning and he wants to appeal.”

As the judges described the siege of Sarajevo, Karadzic looked pained and his face tightened into a grimace.

Victims’ tears

Victims’ families in the courtroom, some of then elderly, listened intently when the genocide at Srebrenica was discussed. One wiped away tears as the judge described men and boys being separated from their families.

When Karadzic was ordered to stand for sentencing, he listened with eyes mostly downcast. After judges departed, he sat back heavily in his chair.

Listen to survivors tell their stories:

Victims’ families embraced before quietly leaving the courtroom.

Outside, Hatidza Mehmedovic, who lost her entire family at Srebrenica, said she was enraged by the verdict, and no punishment could have been harsh enough.

“He can live in a cushy prison while I have to live in Srebrenica, where his ideology is still in place,” she said.

“I have no sisters, no brothers, no husband.”

Karadzic was arrested in 2008 after 11 years on the run, following a war in which 100,000 people were killed as rival armies carved Bosnia up along ethnic lines that largely survive today.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he would stand by the Serbs of Bosnia.

“We will stand by our people and we will protect their existence and their right to have their own state,” he said.

Serge Brammertz, the court’s chief prosecutor, said he hoped the ruling would make populist politicians in the region more reluctant to hail convicted war criminals as heroes.

“There is nothing heroic about raping persons, about sexual abuse in camps,” he said. “There is nothing heroic about executing 7,000 prisoners which have been detained in impossible circumstances. There is nothing heroic to kill with snipers children who are playing.”

He said prosecutors may appeal Karadzic’s acquittal on the second genocide charge.

World opinion

The only more senior official to face justice before the Tribunal was the late Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in custody a decade ago before a verdict was reached.

Ratko Mladic, the general who commanded Bosnian Serb forces, was the last suspect to be detained over the Srebrenica slaughter and is also in a U.N. cell awaiting judgment.

The Srebrenica massacre and the Serb siege of Sarajevo were events that turned world opinion against the Serbs and prompted NATO air strikes that helped bring the war to an end.

Karadzic defended himself through his 497-day trial and called 248 witnesses, poring over many of the millions of pages of evidence with the help of a court-appointed legal adviser.

Rejecting the charges against him, Karadzic sought to portray himself as the Serbs’ champion, blaming some of the sieges and shelling on Bosnian Muslims themselves. He says soldiers and civilians who committed crimes during the war acted individually.

Opponents of the ICTY say its prosecutors have disproportionately targeted Serbs as 94 of 161 suspects charged were from the Serbian side, while 29 were Croat and nine Bosnian Muslim.

Prosecutors have been criticized for not bringing charges against two other leaders of that era who have since died – Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic.

Many Serbs, both in Bosnia and Serbia, regard the court as a pro-Western instrument, say Karadzic is innocent and believe his conviction is an injustice for all Serbs.

Faulkner fires with ball after gastro

James Faulkner recovered from a bout of gastro to deliver, statistically speaking, the greatest Twenty20 bowling performance by an Australian.

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Faulkner was restricted to walking laps at Australia’s training session on Thursday because he was ill.

The allrounder was feeling much better on Friday, when he was named man of the match in Australia’s crucial World T20 clash with Pakistan at Mohali.

Faulkner was twice on a hat-trick as he stormed to figures of 5-27, piloting his side to a 21-run win.

Never before has an Australian claimed a five-wicket haul in a T20 international.

Faulkner played down the feat, noting four of his wickets came in his final two overs, when the run-rate required had become ridiculous and Pakistan were swinging at everything.

“I got pretty lucky. I just got a couple at the end this evening so I am not too worried about that,” the Tasmanian said.

“I was lucky there at the end.”

Faulkner was tight-lipped when asked how close he was to missing the crucial match.

“I was alright today so that was the main thing,” he said.

The 25-year-old has become one of the most important players in Australia’s limited-overs XI on account of both his batting and bowling.

Faulkner’s back-of-the-hand slower balls have taken a stack of wickets and are incredibly hard to score off.

“It is pretty basic for all bowlers in T20 cricket,” he said.

“Variations and change of pace.

“A good yorker and bouncer.

“If you can execute them, you can make it hard for the batsmen.

“But at the same time you can still execute and travel around the park.”

Paceman Josh Hazlewood, playing his first match of the tournament, legspinner Adam Zampa and offspinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell also impressed with the ball during the match.

“Glenn bowled well. I think as a group we bowled well,” Faulkner said.

“We knew they were going to come hard against us. It was about holding our nerve and holding our length against them.”

Zampa struck when the match was in the balance, removing dangermen Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi.

“Zampa has bowled beautifully,” skipper Steve Smith said in the post-match ceremony.

“He reads the batsmen well and is really smart, which is great for Australia.”

BEST T20 INTERNATIONAL FIGURES BY AN AUSTRALIAN

*5-27: James Faulkner v Pakistan in 2016

*4-15: Shane Watson v England in 2011

*4-18: Dirk Nannes v Bangladesh in 2010

*4-20: Stuart Clark v Sri Lanka in 2007.

What is a double dissolution election?

The Prime Minister’s threat to Senate crossbenchers to either pass industrial relations legislation or possibly face a double dissolution election may herald a rare political event.

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It has been criticised by some as either a move designed to intimidate smaller opponents, or to take control of the upper house of parliament.

Only six times since the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia over 110 years ago has the Constitutional measure been used.

Kristina Kukolja takes a look at what a double dissolution election is, and its place in Australian political history.

When a government finds itself without the ability to pass its legislation successfully through both houses of parliament, Australia’s Constitution allows for a special mechanism that can disrupt the electoral cycle – a double dissolution election.

To understand how and why this works, it’s necessary to look at the history of Australia’s parliamentary democracy.

Based on the British Westminster system, the federal, or executive, government is responsible to the parliament, or the legislative arm of government.

In Australia the parliament comprises two chambers.

Federal elections are held every three years.

Government is formed by the party with a majority in the lower house – the House of Representatives.

The upper house, the Senate, is a house of review.

Professor of politics at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, Clem MacIntyre, says dissolving both houses for re-election – a double dissolution election – is a serious endeavour.

“A normal election sees all of the House of Representatives up for election — all 150 members — and half of the Senate. That’s half of the state senators. There are 12 senators representing each state and two from each territory. At a normal half-Senate election, as it’s called, six of those senators from the states are elected to six-year terms and the two from each territory are elected to three-year terms. At a double dissolution election all 76 of those seats become vacant and each state will elect 12 new senators to fill the state spots and the territories two each. Of the 12 state senators six will be elected to serve three-year terms, and six will be elected to serve six-year terms. So, that rotation of half the Senate going at each election is back in sync again.”

For a double dissolution election to occur, the government needs what’s known as a “trigger bill”.

Professor Macintyre explains it refers to a specific piece of legislation which the two houses of federal parliament cannot agree to pass.

“The Constitution says that if there’s a disagreement between the House of Representatives and the Senate over a bill, then the government has the capacity to seek an early election to resolve that. So, a bill must be passed in identical form by the lower house and blocked by the Senate twice, and there must be a three-month gap between the first block and the second block. If that happens, the prime minister has what’s called a “trigger bill” and can go to the Governor General and say, ‘The Senate is refusing to pass this bill which the lower house is supporting. I’m requesting a double dissolution to clean out the whole of the House of Representatives as well as the whole of the Senate – and have a fresh election, after which if we are elected, that bill could be reput to the parliament.”

The Governor General represents Australia’s head of state, the Queen, and is expected to act on the advice of the prime minister and dissolve both houses of parliament.

And only six times since the federation of Australia’s colonies in 1901 has this happened.

The first double dissolution election was called in 1914 over union employment in the public service.

The most recent was in 1987 – again by a Labor government, but this time using legislation proposing the introduction of a national identity card.

In 1950, the conservative Liberal-National government led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies had hoped a bill banning the Communist Party of Australia would act as a trigger for a double dissolution vote, but it was ultimately passed by a Labor-dominated Senate.

Dr Barry York is an historian at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

He says, in 1951 Mr Menzies tried again – using the failure of another bill to ultimately secure a majority in the upper house.

“Menzies’ government was opposed to the attempt by the previous Labor party government headed by Ben Chifley to nationalise the banks, and the dispute or deadlock in 1951 was to do with what was called ‘The Commonwealth Bank bill’ which, in effect, rescinded any of the attempts to nationalise the banking sector. And that was an example of where the risk involved in a double dissolution (election) paid off for the government because Menzies ended up back in power with – if I remember correctly – an increased majority.”

Dr York warns that the move doesn’t guarantee government control over both houses of parliament.

“It’s interesting from a politician’s point of view, or prime minister’s point of view who wants to go down that path – it’s almost like the toss of a coin because half of them have returned the government and half haven’t. Added to that is the complication, of course, the big risk which is that the Senate in Australia has considerable power compared to Senates in other Commonwealth countries and other parliamentary democracies. It’s a house of review, but also it can reject a bill from the House of Representatives and it can decline to pass such a bill, or it can amend a bill. So, even if a double dissolution results in the return of the government, there’s no guarantee the Senate will be a cooperative one.”

And if, even after a double dissolution election, the Senate refuses to pass the trigger legislation, both houses of parliament can be called for a joint sitting.

Australia’s current parliament expires on November 11, and an early double dissolution election must be called outside of its final six months.

 

 

Belgian police hold seven in bomb inquiry

Belgian police have arrested seven people in raids in their investigation into Islamic State suicide bombings in Brussels.

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The federal prosecutor’s office said six persons were held during searches in the Brussels neighbourhoods of Schaerbeek in the north and Jette in the west, as well as in the centre of the Belgian capital. Public broadcaster RTBF said a seventh man was arrested in the Forest borough of Brussels early on Friday.

Islamic State suicide bombers hit Brussels airport and a metro train on Tuesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding some 270 in the worst such attack in Belgian history.

The daily De Standaard said on Friday police had arrested a man who was filmed by security cameras in the airport terminal next to two bombers who blew themselves up there. Prosecutors did not confirm the arrest and it was not known if the man was among the seven detained overnight.

The attack in Brussels, home to the European Union and NATO, has heightened security concerns around the world and raised questions about EU states’ ability to respond in an effective, co-ordinated way to the Islamist militant threat.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Brussels on Friday for talks with Belgian and European Commission leaders to offer US assistance in security cooperation against terrorism.

The Islamic State militant group also took credit for co-ordinated attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people at cafes, a sports stadium and concert hall.

Belgian public broadcaster VRT said investigators believed that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, arrested last Friday, probably planned a similar shooting and suicide bomb attack in Brussels. The news website Politico Europe said investigators had only questioned Abdeslam for a single hour in the four days between his arrest on March 19 and the Brussels bombings.

Belgian daily De Morgen said investigators had identified a new suspect they believe played a role in the Brussels bombings, naming him as 28-year-old Syrian Naim al-Hamed.

The paper said he was on a list circulated to the security services of other European countries after Tuesday’s attacks along with Mohamed Abrini, Najim Laachraoui and Khalid El Bakraoui. Hamed was also suspected of involvement in the Paris attacks, De Morgen said.

One man was killed in a shootout with police on March 15 that led to the discovery of assault weapons and explosives and the arrest of Abdeslam, 26, and another suspect on March 18.

Belgium on Thursday lowered its security alert level one notch to three from the highest level, four, but officials did not say what that would mean in terms of security measures that have included a heavy police and military presence in Brussels.

Islamic State posted a video on social media calling the Brussels blasts a victory and featuring the training of Belgian militants suspected in the Paris attacks.

Second chances propel Shield finalists

Victoria and South Australia will look to make the most of second lives when the Sheffield Shield final begins on Saturday.

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Both teams’ seasons looked over at separate points in the past month, but now have the chance to win the covered title at Glenelg’s Gliderol Stadium.

South Australia in particular have walked a tightrope to the final, winning their last two games and relying on results in other games to fall their way.

However, it could have been a different story if an injured Nick Benton hadn’t edged them to a one-wicket victory over WA at the WACA earlier this month.

Nursing a dislocated shoulder, the No.11 held the bat in only his un-preferred left hand to score the match-winning runs in the must-win game.

“That was a big turning point for us,” Redbacks veteran Mark Cosgrove said.

“He could easily have said `no, I’m too sore,’ or batted with two hands.”

Full of painkillers, Benton flicked a single off his pads, then edged a boundary through slips to win the match.

“I had a lot of strapping on it,” he told AAP.

“I went in trying to use two hands, but I realised after the first ball I couldn’t.”

“I’m not a very good bat, I’m happy to admit that … It was more just a case of see ball, hit ball.”

Meanwhile, the Bushrangers could easily have missed the final despite almost being assured of a position with three games to play.

They lost rounds eight and nine, before an unbeaten final-day 332-ball 97 from Cameron White against NSW saved both last week’s match and booked a spot in the decider.

“There were definitely times where I didn’t think we were going to be here,” Bushrangers captain Matt Wade said.

“In the 10 years that I’ve played with Cameron I’ve never seen him play an innings like that.

“But that’s the thing, last week we didn’t know if we were going to be here. Now we’ve just got to go out there and play the way we play.”

Karadzic verdict ‘does little’ for those suffering in Australia

Australian survivors and relatives of victims of the Bosnian War’s Srebrenica massacre say the conviction of Radovan Karadzic does not go far enough in bringing them justice.

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Karadzic has been found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica and of other war crimes during the war in the 1990s.

Saidin Salkic was just 12 years old and seeking refuge in Potocari, near Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia.

He was there with his mother and sister, along with thousands of other Bosnian Muslims, in that fateful July of 1995.

His father had been killed earlier in the war.

Mr Salkic, now grown up and living in Melbourne, says what the United Nations had declared a safe zone soon became anything but that.

“They’d taken me away from my family and put me on the side of the road with the people who never came back, and my mum started pulling me back … And, eventually, through a lot of hustle and bustle — they almost wanted to shoot us on the spot, but I suppose it was way too public — and we got to get away.”

Bosnian Serb troops overran the enclave.

Although Mr Salkic’s life was spared, about 8,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed in Srebrenica over several days.

It has been described as one of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War Two.

Now, Radovan Karazdic has been held responsible, but Mr Salkic says his conviction means little.

“This sentence they handed out, to be honest, means very little to me and those who have gone through what they’ve gone through — and through what they will be going (through) for the rest of their lives.”

Hariz Halilovich was not living in Srebrenica at the time of the mass killings.

But he, like many others, lost family members and friends.

Mr Halilovich says he, too, does not think the sentence goes far enough.

“I wish, also, that the sentence of 40 years was a life sentence. Purely symbolically, it would have meant more, because he did directly order, or inspired or knew of, hundreds of thousands of deaths. So, one life sentence for so many lives lost would have been at least some symbolic justice.”

Mr Halilovich researches the impact the conflict has had on communities and in the diaspora at Melbourne’s RMIT University.

“In Saint Albans, here in Melbourne, almost every second Bosnian family is a fatherless family — you know, families where significant male family members, they’ve perished. So there are mothers without sons, wives without husbands, children without fathers. And this is the reality of the Bosnian diaspora today, not only in Australia but in many countries.”

International law expert Gideon Boas, also in Melbourne, formerly assisted Karadzic’s defence.

Mr Boas says not everyone will welcome the guilty verdict, though.

“It’s always been felt by Serbs, including Bosnian Serbs, that the Yugoslav tribunal was set up to prosecute Serbs and a great deal more Serbs have been prosecuted than Muslims and Croats, and that’s a fact. On the other hand, they orchestrated a large number of crimes, and calling to account someone like Radovan Karadzic is crucial. It’s just as crucial as calling to account other leaders — Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims. And there have been trials for those people as well, but it’s understandable that Bosnian Serbs who are here, or Serbs who are here, will feel as though this is just another example of the international community really going after the Serbs and ignoring their suffering. And I understand that.”

Saidan Salkic says the United Nations also failed the victims when it mattered most.

“It’s too late, nothing can heal the wounds. The wounds would have been healed if they had been prevented from happening by the people who were supposed to do it by law — by UN law.”

 

 

 

West Indies reach semi-finals after last-over win

The West Indian attack responded brilliantly to captain Darren Sammy’s decision to bowl first on a slow pitch offering help as they restricted South Africa to 122 for eight.

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Johnson Charles hit 32 at the top of the order as the 2012 champions seemed in control of their run chase until leg-spinner Imran Tahir struck twice in consecutive deliveries in his last over to haul his side back into the game.

Marlon Samuels, named man of the match for his 44, was then removed by paceman Chris Morris in the penultimate over.

Carlos Brathwaite calmed West Indian jitters, however, when he hit a six off paceman Kagiso Rabada as West Indies clinched a third successive victory, with two balls to spare.

“I was smiling … but inside there were some butterflies,” Sammy said. “We came here to win this match to qualify and we have done that so I am very happy.”

Earlier, opener Quinton de Kock (47) played a disciplined innings to rescue South Africa after they slumped to 47 for five in the ninth over.

De Kock added 50 for the sixth wicket with David Wiese (28) to give his team a competitive total to defend.

“It felt like all game we were just behind West Indies and trying to catch up,” said South Africa skipper Faf Du Plessis. “It was a 135 pitch but it was a great fight by the boys.

“This game makes us all very old very quickly. West Indies were just a little bit better than us today.”

Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Dwayne Bravo picked up two wickets apiece for West Indies who retained the same side that beat Sri Lanka in their last match in Bangalore.

South Africa, who have never lifted the trophy but were one of the pre-tournament favourites, have two points from three Group One games and look like going out.

Second-placed England have four points and can claim a spot in the last four with a win on Saturday over Sri Lanka who are also on two points. Afghanistan are bottom with no points.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Tony Jimenez)

Warrington go top of Super League

Warrington coach Tony Smith refused to get carried away after his team moved top of the Super League with a hard-fought derby win over Widnes.

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The Wolves recovered from a 10-0 deficit to prevail 28-10 in a compelling encounter at the Halliwell Jones Stadium that saw them replace their neighbours at the summit.

It is Wire’s best start to a campaign – seven wins from seven – for 66 years, and local enthusiasm was evident in a stadium record 15,008 crowd, but Smith wants to keep the achievement in perspective.

Smith said: “It is a nice position to be in, I can’t deny that, but we don’t spend a lot of time focusing on where we are in the table because we know how far there is to go. But it has been a nice start for us.

“We probably weren’t at our best in the first half, we were a little bit flat, but in the second half we were very committed. We showed that on our own tryline defensively. We felt if we kept grinding away we would come home pretty strong and it turned out that way.

“But I thought Widnes tried really hard. They fought hard and made a real contest of it.”

Widnes started brightly with Tom Gilmore and Rhys Hanbury tries but Warrington were level at 10-10 at half-time after Chris Sandow and Tom Lineham replies before Kurt Gidley, Ryan Atkins and Ben Currie secured victory.

The Vikings dominated the opening 10 minutes of second period but failed to capitalise and coach Denis Betts accepted they ran out of steam in what was the 250th competitive clash between the clubs.

Betts said: “We just lacked a little bit of composure, a little bit of initiative. We just tried to fall over the line.

“We had all this possession, all this territory, all the opportunities – but they came out with points. They went the length of the field. That drains your energy but that is the mark of a good side.”

Confirmed 2 US citizens killed in Brussels

Two Americans have been killed in Tuesday’s suicide bombings in Brussels, a senior US official says, as US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Belgian leaders and offered condolences and help following the attack.

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The official did not offer specifics on where the Americans died, saying only that two had been confirmed killed.

Kerry, travelling back to Washington after talks in Moscow, stopped in Belgium on Friday to demonstrate solidarity after the attacks, which killed 31 people and injured hundreds of others.

“The United States is praying and grieving with you for the loved ones of those cruelly taken from us, including Americans, and for the many who were injured in these despicable attacks,” Kerry said after meeting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

“The United States stands firmly with Belgium and with the nations of Europe in the face of this tragedy,” he said.

“We will continue to provide any assistance necessary in investigating these heinous acts of terrorism and bringing those responsible to justice,” Kerry added.

Michel offered his condolences for the death of the Americans, but did not elaborate. “We want to co-operate with you, do our best with you in order to face these very sensitive issues,” he said.

Meanwhile the Dutch Foreign Ministry has also confirmed three of its citizens lost their lives in the attacks.

The victims included a 41-year-old woman from Deventer, on the border with Germany, and a brother and sister from Maastricht who lived in New York.

And a Chinese national was also among those killed in the bombings, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

A UK man, missing since the attacks, was also confirmed dead.

The family of Briton David Dixon, 53, who is originally from Hartlepool but was living in the Belgian capital, said they had received “the most terrible and devastating news”.

A statement from the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm David Dixon lost his life in the attacks which took place in Brussels on Tuesday 22 March 2016. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time and our Embassy staff are continuing to support them.

“We know of seven British nationals who were injured in the attacks – three are still being treated in hospital.”