News / Europe

    France Wants Hezbollah Armed Wing on EU Terror List Soon

    Supporters of Hezbollah and relatives of Hezbollah member Hussein Ahmad Abu Hasan carry his coffin during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs May 21, 2013.Supporters of Hezbollah and relatives of Hezbollah member Hussein Ahmad Abu Hasan carry his coffin during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs May 21, 2013.
    x
    Supporters of Hezbollah and relatives of Hezbollah member Hussein Ahmad Abu Hasan carry his coffin during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs May 21, 2013.
    Supporters of Hezbollah and relatives of Hezbollah member Hussein Ahmad Abu Hasan carry his coffin during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs May 21, 2013.
    Reuters
    France said on Thursday it hoped an initiative could be agreed upon by the end of June to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on the EU's list of terrorist organizations on grounds the group is importing Syria's war into Lebanon.

    Paris has traditionally been cautious about backing steps to sanction Hezbollah, fearing it could destabilize Lebanon and put U.N. peacekeepers at risk, but in recent weeks has said it would consider all options.

    Britain said this week it wants the EU to add the military wing to the list because of evidence the Islamist group was involved in an attack that killed five Israelis in Bulgaria.

    German diplomats in Brussels said on Wednesday Berlin would support Britain's request, which will be discussed in early June by a special EU working group.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot, confirming comments made by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the end of the Friends of Syria conference in Amman on Wednesday, said Hezbollah had violated an agreement among Lebanese political parties by getting involved in Syria.

    “By deciding to intervene massively in Syria, Hezbollah has broken the consensus,” he told a daily briefing on Thursday.

    “The war in Syria is not the war of the Lebanese. Importing it into Lebanon is dangerous for its stability as the rise in tension in the country shows,” said Lalliot.

    Five people were killed and more than 50 wounded in overnight clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli among gunmen backing rival factions in Syria's civil war, doctors and security sources said on Thursday.

    Hezbollah guerrillas are fighting their biggest battle yet for Assad, and about 30 were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, during fighting in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanese border.

    France, the former colonial ruler in Lebanon, has about 900 troops as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force in the country.

    Britain's request will be discussed first by the special working group, and if it is approved it will be taken to foreign ministers.

    French support is likely to make it easier to convince other reticent EU member states to support the proposal and achieve the required unanimity of the 27 states.

    “It is conceivable to adopt this decision between now and the end of June, but that will depend on an agreement in Brussels,” Lalliot said.

    Bulgaria presented the results of its bomb probe to EU foreign ministers on February 18, urging them to take a harder stance towards Hezbollah. Two days later, Bulgaria's government resigned after mass protests over an economic crisis.

    The United States already lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and U.S. and Israeli authorities want the EU to follow suit. Many European governments are concerned, though, the move could fuel tensions in the Middle East.

    In Europe, only the Netherlands lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group, and Britain blacklists its military wing.

    European governments and companies must cease any financial dealings with groups on the list.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora