Report: Hezbollah military wing officially added to EU terror blacklist

EU's Official Journal now includes Hezbollah in list of 11 persons, 25 groups after pressure from Britain, Netherlands.

July 26, 2013 14:44
1 minute read.
Hezbollah members rally in Beirut

Hezbollah members rally in Beirut 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

The EU's Official Journal -- a record of EU decisions and their implementation -- officially added the "Hezbollah Military Wing" to a list of 11 persons and 25 groups deemed to be affiliated with terrorist activity, the Lebanese Daily Star reported on Friday.

According to the Star, analysts warn it may be impossible to distinguish between Hezbollah's military and political wings, in order to implement appropriate sanctions on the terrorist group, but not the political portion.

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To address concerns, ministers reportedly agreed that the blacklisting of Hezbollah would not "affect legitimate financial transfers to Lebanon and the delivery of assistance, including humanitarian assistance," the Official Journal is quoted as saying.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday that the decision means the EU will share responsibility for any future Israeli attack on Lebanon, the Star reported.

European Union governments had agreed on Monday to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on the EU terrorism blacklist in a reversal of past policy fueled by concerns over the Lebanese militant movement's activities in Europe.

Britain and the Netherlands have pressed EU peers since May to put the Shi'ite Muslim group's military wing on the bloc's terrorism list, citing evidence it was behind a bus bombing in Bulgaria last year which killed five Israelis and their driver.

Until now, the EU had resisted pressure from Washington and Israel to blacklist Hezbollah, arguing such a move could fuel instability in Lebanon, where the group is part of the government, and add to tensions in the Middle East.

But evidence from Bulgaria about the attack and concerns over Hezbollah's growing involvement in the war in Syria persuaded opponents to back the move, which triggers the freezing of any assets the group's armed wing may hold in the 28-nation EU.

"It is good that the EU has decided to call Hezbollah what it is: a terrorist organization," Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers who decided on the blacklisting.

"We took this important step today, by dealing with the military wing of Hezbollah, freezing its assets, hindering its fundraising and thereby limiting its capacity to act."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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