Bulgarian FM urges EU to recognize Hezbollah as terrorist organization

Sofia urges EU to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization & make an effort to prevent further attacks to EU members.


The European Union must take collective action against Hezbollah, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov said on Monday morning.
Relatives of a victim of the Burgas bomb attack

Relatives of a victim of the Burgas bomb attack – Photo: REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Mladenov attended a meeting in Brussels to brief his counterparts on an initial investigative Bulgarian report which blamed Hezbollah for the bombing outside the Burgas airport that killed five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver last July.

“We believe the attack that happened in Burgas last year was organized by people connected to the military wing of Hezbollah,” Mladenov said.

“We in Europe need to take collective measures to make sure that such attacks will never happen again on EU soil, that we are protected as the EU,” he said.

“We must send a strong message to the rest of the world that activities like this are unacceptable, no matter where they are planned or executed,” he added.

When a reporter asked if Israel or the United States had pressured the Bulgarian government to target Hezbollah, he seemed puzzled.

Bulgaria bus bomb.

Bulgaria bus after terrorist’s bomb. – Photo: REUTERS

“No body has an interest in putting pressure on us,” he said. “We came to these conclusions because of our own investigation, and we stand firmly behind them,” Mladenov said.

Israel and the US have asked Europe to take a stronger stand against Hezbollah, including putting it on a blacklist of terrorist organizations.

But to date, the EU has made only lukewarm statements about the organization and its link to the terrorist attack in Bulgaria, which is one of the 27 EU nations.

In the wake of the report, Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief said only that the matter should be studied further.

Catherine AshtonIn the United States on Monday, 100 members of US Congress led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) sent a signed letter to Ashton, urging the EU designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

“Hezbollah’s actions in Europe must be met with a response to prevent further attacks in Europe and around the world,” the letter said.

Such a move, it said, would make it difficult for Hezbollah to finance, plan and execute terrorist attacks.

“Furthermore, if Hezbollah’s ability to maintain fundraising networks in Europe remains intact, this threatens to undermine the European Union’s significant efforts towards Middle East peace,” it said.


View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=303649