Hollande: France will 'study evidence' of Burgas

French president tells WJC before making decision on blacklisting Hezbollah, France to study Bulgarian probe into bombing.

Hollande and Lauder (photo credit: Courtesy WJC)
Hollande and Lauder
(photo credit: Courtesy WJC)
The World Jewish Congress on Wednesday called on the French president to support an initiative to put Hezbollah on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations following evidence provided by Bulgaria of their involvement in the Burgas bus bombing.
France's President François Hollande told World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder in response that France would study the evidence assembled by the Bulgarian investigators before making any decision regarding the labeling of the Lebanese organization.
France has not yet formally sounded off on the matter, while the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU needed to “reflect” on the issue.
Placing Hezbollah on the EU terror blacklist will make it illegal to transfer funds from EU countries to the organization. The decision needs the consensus of all 27 EU countries, but France – and to a lesser degree Germany – have in the past opposed the move, claiming that it will weaken leverage inside Lebanon and increase instability there.
The French president also told Lauder that Iran was not the problem of Israel but of the whole world.
Hollande decorated World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder with the order of officer the Legion of Honor at the event, calling him “a man of peace, of culture and of commitment.”
Lauder attended the event at Elysée Palace in Paris as head of a delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, of which he is a former president. He held talks with Hollande and raised issues of concern to Jewish communities.