EU refuses Israel to blacklist Hezbollah
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
EPA PhotoThe European Union turned down a request July 24 by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group after last week’s deadly bombing in Bulgaria. Israel blames Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah for July 18’s suicide attack at the Black Sea airport of Burgas in which five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver died.
“There is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations,” said Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency. But an EU decision would require the unanimous approval of all its 27 members.
Sitting beside the Kozakou-Marcoullis at a news conference held after annual EU-Israel talks, Lieberman said: “The time has come to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list of Europe.” “It would give the right signal to the international community and the Israeli people.” But Kozakou-Marcoullis said Hezbollah was an organization comprising a party as well as an armed wing and was “active in Lebanese politics”.
“Taking into account this and other aspects there is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations,” she said. The EU would consider this if there were tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terror, she added. Lieberman said Israel was continuing to compile evidence from the Bulgaria attack and would onpass proof to the EU.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP that “for years we have been providing Europe with information on Hezbollah’s direct involvement in terror attacks. But certain states in the EU have clarified to us that because of political reasons; they prefer to not add Hezbollah to the list, despite them not disputing the evidence.”