BERLIN —Contrary to the U.K., Germany will not classify the Iran-backed Hezbollah group as a terrorist organization, a senior official was quoted as saying on Friday, a decision that may fuel tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Germany’s Minister of State, Niels Annen, told weekly Der Spiegel that Hezbollah plays a relevant role in Lebanon, and that the European Union already blacklists the organization’s terrorist wing.
The U.K. last month said it would ban Hzebollah entirely – not only the group’s ‘’military wing’’ as it did previously- for destabilizing the Middle East.
The German minister said his country was interested in Lebanon’s stability and Britain’s decision would have no direct impact on the position of Germany or the European Union.
British Interior Minister Sajid Javid said he had banned the terrorist organisation to protect the “safety and security” of the British people.
Since 2008, the UK has banned only Hezbollah’s so-called “armed wing”, leaving Islamists taking part in the annual Al Quds Day March in London to wave the group’s yellow flag and claim to be expressing support only for the terror group’s “political wing”.
He said last month : “My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people. As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology which is why I am taking action against several organisations today.’’
He added : ‘’Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”
Thus far, the Arab League, Bahrain, Canada, France, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Israel, the Netherlands, the UAE and United States, have designated the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.