The European Union in reneging on its plan to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem have told Israel’s Maariv newspaper.
As recently as two weeks ago the EU was planning to name Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization following reports of its involvement in Syria. However, a meeting held this week quickly became political, and the plan was met with strong opposition from both Ireland and Sweden, as well as several other countries, the diplomatic sources said.
The official reason given for retracting the move is a fear of instability in Lebanon, but the diplomatic sources say it was a matter of Ireland and Sweden fearing for the safety of a UN peacekeeping mission in the region.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that another main concern is the clarity of evidence linking Hezbollah to the Burgas bus bombing last year. Officials from member states in favor of the blacklisting have admitted that the evidence appears circumstantial. The new Bulgarian government’s hesitation in fingering Hezbollah has also weighed on discussions, several diplomats said, according to the WSJ.
Several EU diplomats told the WSJ that the discussions were inconclusive, though further talks are likely to be held later in the month.
All 27 EU member states must agree in order for Hezbollah to be added to the list.
“My guess is it’s going to take some time” to reach a decision, one EU diplomat briefed on the discussions told the WSJ. “There is no unanimity yet” on blacklisting Hezbollah, the person added.