The European Union has put what it calls the military wing of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, on its terror blacklist.
The decision was made unanimously after hours of discussions by the EU’s 28 foreign ministers at their monthly meeting. It came after prolonged diplomatic pressure from Washington and Israel.
The blacklisting would mean imposing visa bans on individuals and asset freezes on organizations associated with the group.
It could take up to two weeks before names of individuals and organizations within Hezbollah are added to the list, as officials would have to unravel the links between the different wings of the organization.
A number of European governments accuse Hezbollah of involvement in last year’s bomb attack in the Black Sea resort of Burgas in Bulgaria, which killed five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian. Hezbollah has rejected the allegation.
Several EU nations also have pointed to Hezbollah’s fighting against foreign-backed insurgents in Syria as the main reason behind the decision.
Hezbollah officials in Beirut declined to immediately comment on the EU decision but in a May speech, Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said any such move would be no more than “ink on paper.”
Beirut has urged Brussels not to move against the resistance group, describing it as an essential component of the Lebanese society.
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