BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Tuesday Lebanon would cooperate with Bulgaria to unravel the circumstances of the 2012 bus bombing in Burgas after a probe implicated Hezbollah in the attack, as the United States and Israel stepped up pressure on the EU to take action against the Lebanese group.
The head of the European Union, Chatherine Ashton, said European states needed to reflect carefully on the results of the probe.
"Lebanon affirms its confidence that the concerned authorities in Bulgaria will seriously evaluate the results of these probes and [Lebanon] affirms its readiness to cooperate with the Bulgarian state to unravel the circumstances of this issue to achieve fairness and safeguard justice,” Mikati said, according to his office.
Mikati, who traveled to Bulgaria on an official visit last year, said his country condemns and opposes “any act or attack targeting any Arab or foreign country.”
Earlier Tuesday, Bulgaria’s interior minister said a probe into the July 18, 2012, bus bombing in the Black Sea resort of Burgas pointed to Hezbollah’s involvement, an allegation that both Israel and the U.S. maintain.
Bulgarian Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said three people were involved in the attack, two of whom had genuine passports from Australia and Canada.
"There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects," Tsvetanov told reporters.
"What can be established as a well-grounded assumption is that the two persons whose real identity has been determined belonged to the military wing of Hezbollah," he said.
Both Israel and the U.S., which both regard Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, urged the EU to take action against the resistance group.
Ashton, according to a statement from her office, said European states needed to reflect carefully on the results of a probe.
“The implications of the investigation need to be assessed seriously as they relate to a terrorist attack on EU soil, which resulted in the killing and injury of innocent civilians,” the statement said.
She also stressed the “need for a reflection over the outcome of the investigation,” adding that the EU member states would discuss “the appropriate response “based on all elements identified by the investigators."
Mikati said Lebanon was keen on maintaining it sties with Bulgaria and other EU states.
“Lebanon emphasizes its tight relationships with Bulgaria and the European Union and its keenness on Bulgaria's security as well as that of the whole union and its desire is to keep good relations and develop it at all levels on the basis of mutual respect and in accordance with the rules governing countries' relations,” Mikati said.