Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 - 6 of Tishri, 5781

‘For the time being, the EU position on Hezbollah remains unchanged’, says EU foreign policy chief

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Several Members of the European Parliament have called on the EU to designate Hezbollah a terror group in its entirety.

A change of the EU position on Hezbollah would require unanimity of all Member States. ‘’This is not the case,’’ said Josep Borrell.

 

‘’For the time being, the EU position on Hezbollah remains unchanged,’’ EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the European Parliament as he addressed the assembly members on the situation in Lebanon.

Noting that members of the European Parliament have asked the EU to change its position towards the Lebanese group and declare it a terrorist organization in its entirety, Borrell responsed that only the ‘’military’’ wing of Hezbollah ‘’is under our sanctions regime.’’

The EU has so far only recognized Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization as it continues to make an artificial distinction between the group’s ‘’political’’ and ‘’military’’ wings.

‘’The presence of Hezbollah in the (Lebanese) government is not new. We are convinced that engaging in a constructive dialogue with all political parties is a  way of strengthening Lebanon’s institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces, state security agencies, and this is key for the stability of Lebanon and the Middle East.’’

He added that to change the EU position on Hezbollah would require once again unanimity of all Member States. ‘’This is not the case,’’ he said.

In the EU, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the UK (before it went out of the EU) have listed the entire Hezbollah as a terror organization.

France is still opposing such a characterization, a position which was sharply criticized this week by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He called France’s approach to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah “appeasement.”

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has recently attracted attention for two high-profile visits to Lebanon following the Beirut port explosion on August 4.

According to reports in French newspaper Le Figaro, Macron met with a Hezbollah official during his first trip, saying to Mohammed Raad: “I want to work with you to change Lebanon but prove that you are Lebanese,” referring to the organization supporting Iran’s regional policies.

Pompeo questioned how France president could meet with a Hezbollah official in Beirut.

“How could France vote down the arms embargo one week, and President Macron meet with a senior Hezbollah official in Beirut the next?,”  asked Pompeo.

He criticized France’s refusal to designate “all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization, as other European nations have done.”

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