Israel irked by EU refusal to blacklist Hezbollah

Israel irked by EU refusal to blacklist Hezbollah
Thu Jun 20, 2013 19:33:47

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced exasperation with the European Union's reluctance to classify Lebanon's Hezbollah movement as a terrorist group.

"I mean, it's hard to see how you cannot have a consensus on Hezbollah as a terrorist organization," he told Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, at the public start of their meeting in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Thursday.

Responding to Netanyahu, Ashton said, "I hear what you say, especially on your concerns about what's happening with Hezbollah. And we will talk about these things."
A British proposal to put Hezbollah on the EU's terrorism blacklist was resisted on Wednesday by some of the bloc's 27 members who fear such action would fuel instability in the Middle East, diplomats said.
Britain has argued that the resistance movement should face European sanctions because of its alleged involvement in a bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and their driver in July.  Hezbollah denies any involvement in the attack. 
Diplomats said some EU governments had questioned whether there was solid evidence of Hezbollah involvement. Bulgaria's new government expressed similar doubts this month, but now says it will not impede blacklisting the group.
Diplomats say a majority of EU member states, including France and Germany, back the British proposal. But unanimity is needed and Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy have voiced reservations over what would be a major policy shift for the EU.

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