EU agrees to designation in unanimous decision. “We applaud the European Union for the important step it has taken," says Kerry.
In a unanimous decision, the European Union has agreed to designate the military wing of Hezbollah, the Iranian-supported Lebanon-based group, as a terrorist organization.
The decision was announced July 22, a little over one year after a bombing attack on a bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, killed five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian citizen. After an intensive investigation, the Bulgarian government announced in February 2013 that Hezbollah was behind the attack. In March, a Cypriot court found an admitted Hezbollah operative guilty of conspiracy in a similar plot planned for Cyprus.
The United States, along with several other countries, has long designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and welcomed the European Union’s decision.
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press statement, “We applaud the European Union for the important step it has taken…The EU is sending a strong message to Hezbollah that it cannot operate with impunity, and that there are consequences for last year’s deadly attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, and for plotting a similar attack in Cyprus.”
Designating the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Mr. Kerry said, “will have a significant impact on Hezbollah’s ability to operate freely in Europe by enabling European law enforcement agencies to crack down on Hezbollah’s fundraising, logistical activity, and terrorist plotting on European soil.”
He also cited Hezbollah’s deepening support for the brutal Assad regime and its efforts “to expand its global reach through increased involvement in international criminal schemes and terrorist plots around the world.”
“We call on other governments to follow the EU’s lead,” said Secretary of State Kerry, “and to take steps to begin reining in Hezbollah’s terrorist and criminal activities.”