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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs