Operation to arrest top Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam (file)
Operation to arrest top Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam (file)Reuters

Belgian authorities decided on Thursday to extradite Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to France, AFP reports.

Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect in the November terror attacks in Paris which killed 130 people, was arrested in Brussels on March 18 after four months on the run as Europe's most wanted man.

Abdeslam's lawyer, who initially indicated he would resist efforts to extradite his client, on Thursday said the 26-year- client had agreed to be transferred to France under a European arrest warrant, clearing the way for a fast-track extradition.

"What Salah Abdeslam wants to make known is that he wants to cooperate with the French authorities. These are the words he wants to make known," lawyer Cedric Moisse was quoted as having told reporters in Brussels.

Abdeslam's arrest was considered a rare success in Belgium's anti-terror fight, although he was found within a short distance of his family home in the Molenbeek district of the capital. He has refused to talk since the Brussels bombings.

"As Salah Abdeslam had declared to agree to be transferred to France, a federal magistrate took his formal declaration today... The transfer is possible," the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"Belgian and French authorities will now consider jointly on how to proceed further in the execution of the transfer," the statement added.

"Unless there are exceptional circumstances," the transfer to France will happen "within 10 days," according to the French justice minister, Jean-Jacques Urvoas.

There had been a manhunt for Abdeslam from the November 13 attacks and until his capture two weeks ago. At one point it was speculated that he fled from Belgium to Germany.

Subsequent reports indicated he had traveled to Hungary before the attacks in Paris, where he "recruited a team" from unregistered migrants passing through.

He is believed to have acted as a logistics coordinator for the Paris attacks and has told investigators he was meant to carry out a suicide bombing at the Stade de France stadium but backed out.