BRUSSELS: The European Union turned down a request Tuesday by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group after last week’s bombing in Bulgaria, which an investigation revealed to be very sophisticated.
“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 organization 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 such a move if there were tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terror, she added.
Lieberman’s request came on the same day Bulgaria’s prime minister announced that a sophisticated group of conspirators was involved in the suicide bombing in Bulgaria. He added that the group had spent about a month in Bulgaria before the attack.
Boiko Borisov’s comments confirm suspicions that the suicide attacker did not act alone. But the prime minister didn’t say how many people were believed to have been involved in the attack and also declined to back up Israel’s claims that Iran and Hezbollah had played roles.
Those involved used “leased vehicles, they moved in different cities so as not to be seen together, and no two of them can be seen in one place on any security camera,” Borisov said, speaking alongside visiting White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan.
He described the people behind the blast as “exceptionally skilled” and said they “observed absolute secrecy.”
Also Tuesday the website Elnashra reported that Lieberman warned that if Syria’s chemical weapons were given to Hezbollah, Israel would be forced to declare a war.