Lebanon News

U.K. urges Lebanon’s ‘full' cooperation in Bulgaria probe

United Kingdom Foreign secretary William Hague, attends the 8th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Regional Security Summit in the Bahraini capital, Manama on December 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

BEIRUT: British Foreign Secretary William Hague called Wednesday on Lebanon to “fully cooperate” with a probe into the 2012 bombing in Bulgaria that Sofia says Hezbollah is behind.

“The Bulgarian government has said, based on the detailed findings of the investigation, that there is a justified assumption that two individuals belonging to Hezbollah’s military wing were involved in the bombing. We call on the Lebanese government to fully co-operate with the investigation,” Hague said in a statement.

Bulgaria said Tuesday it has unearthed evidence implicating two Hezbollah members in last year’s bus bombing in the Black Sea resort of Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian driver.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Tuesday that his government was ready to cooperate with Sofia in its investigation, adding that Lebanon condemns any attack on any Arab or foreign country.

If confirmed, the attack would the first by the Lebanese group on European soil.

Describing the attack as “appalling and callous,” Hague said Wednesday that it was important that the European Union “respond robustly to an attack on European soil.”

“Every act of terror is an attack on our shared values. In committing an attack, terrorists seek to undermine our resolve, but they should only serve to strengthen it,” he said.

“The [U.K.] home secretary and I will be talking to our EU colleagues about the measures we can now take to continue to make our citizens safer.”

Sofia’s announcement Tuesday’s led to renewed calls from Israel and the U.S. for the EU to take action against Hezbollah. The U.S. and Israel have pressured the EU to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Britain and The Netherlands have urged the EU to join Washington in imposing sanctions on Hezbollah for supporting Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

Although the Dutch government has designated the Lebanese group as a terrorist organization, Britain reserves the designation for Hezbollah's armed wing.





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