Britain admits tough task to add Hezbollah militias on terror blacklist

Amer Soltan, London, Friday 24 May 2013

British government says convincing European countries to blacklist Lebanese Hezbollah military wing will be difficult, provides 'strong evidence' to support proposal

Supporters of Hezbollah and relatives of Hezbollah member Hussein Ahmad Abu Hasan carry his coffin during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs May 21, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

The British government has admitted that convincing other European countries of blacklisting the Lebanese Hezbollah military as a terrorist organisation will not be an easy job.

"We are not overconfident that we will able to convince some of our European Union (EU) partners, but we have strong evidence supporting our proposal to designate Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organisation," a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesman told Ahram Online.

Britain confirmed on Wednesday it has called for a meeting of the EU CP931 working group to discuss the British proposal for designation. The group is responsible for examining and evaluating information with a view to listing and de-listing persons, groups and entities, and assessing whether the information meets the criteria for blacklisting.

Britain considers such a step as a necessary collective and robust response "following the atrocious terrorist attack at Bourgas airport and in light of the recent conviction of an Hezbollah operative in Cyprus."

The FCO spokesman added that his country understands that some EU partners may have different views on the issue.

Endorsing the British proposal "would be in line with our national proscription of Hezbollah’s military wing," he said.

He denied any relation between the proposal and the alleged role of Hezbollah in Syria.

Britain added Hezbollah's military wing to its terrorist international organisation list in 2001.

However, the British government said blacklisting Hezbollah's military wing does not mean closing the door on dialogue with Hezbollah's political leadership.

"We differentiate between the military wing and the political wing of Hezbollah," the FCO spokesman said.

London believes EU designation of Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organisation would make it harder for it to operate in Europe and would be a proactive step towards preventing any future attacks by "this terrorist organisation" on European soil.

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