Israel protests EU meeting with Hizbullah

Israel expects consistency in the EU's stand on terrorism if the it wants to increase its involvement here, Foreign Ministry director-general Ron Pros

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October 8, 2005 05:21
3 minute read.

 
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Israel expects consistency in the EU's stand on terrorism if the it wants to increase its involvement here, Foreign Ministry director-general Ron Prosor told troika representatives Thursday in protest against a meeting of EU ambassadors with a Hizbullah minister in Lebanon. Prosor called representatives of troika in Israel - Janet Rogan from the British embassy; Norbert Hack from the Austrian embassy; and Ramiro Cibrian, head of the European Commissions delegation to Israel - to the foreign Ministry to express "grave concern" over a meeting the EU, Italian and French ambassadors to Lebanon had there recently with Lebanon's Water and Energy Minister Mohammad Fneich, who is the Hizbullah representative in Lebanon's cabinet. Prosor said that these types of meetings send the "wrong message" regarding the war on terror. Prosor, who repeated Israel's call - as yet unheeded - that the EU place Hizbullah on its list of terror organizations, said that the organization is involved in terrorist activities in the territories. Karen Kaufman, spokesman for the British embassy, said that the European representatives took note of Israel's position and said that they would pass the information on. The troika is made up of the country that currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, Britain; the country that will hold the presidency next, Austria; and the European Commission. Israel mounted a diplomatic offensive in the spring to get the EU to place Hizbullah on its list of terror organizations, but to no avail. The matter has recently taken on increased significance for Israel in light of the likelihood that Hamas will run in the Palestinian Legislative elections, and will likely say to the Europeans that if they hold talks with Hizbullah, a political party inside the Lebanese government, there is no reason not to hold talks with Hamas as well. The European ambassadors' talks with Fneich came during a period when Israel was lobbying the US about the importance of keeping the heat on Hizbullah, and not giving the organization the feeling it has become a legitimate political player because it is now in the Lebanese cabinet. In contrast to the Europeans, diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said that in recent days the Americans have signaled Israel that they will have no contact with representatives of Hizbullah. At the same time, according to these officials, the US, because of its own interests, is not willing to pressure France and other EU countries to include Hizbullah on the terror list.

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