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EU refuses Israeli request to blacklist Hezbollah

  • Israel Minister for Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman looks on during a press conference with the Cypriot Foreign Affairs Minister, the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement, and the European Neighbourhood Policy adviser, on July 24, 2012, at the EU Headquarters in Brussels, (AFP PHOTO/GEORGES GOBET)

BRUSSELS: The European Union turned down a request Tuesday by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to blacklist Hezbollah as a terror group after last week's deadly bombing in Bulgaria.

"There is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations," said Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Israel blames Iran and Hezbollah for Wednesday's suicide attack at the Black Sea airport of Burgas in which five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver died.

Sitting alongside the Cypriot minister at a news conference held after annual EU-Israel talks, Lieberman said: "The time has come to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list of Europe."

"It would give the right signal to the international community and the Israeli people."

But Kozakou-Marcoullis said Hezbollah was an organisation comprising a party as well as an armed wing and was "active in Lebanese politics".

"Taking into account this and other aspects there is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations," she said.

The EU would consider this if there were tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terror, she added.

 
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