Bulgaria will not push for Hezbollah blacklisting

Interim PM makes remarks during farewell ceremony for Lebanon envoy, who pledges his country’s full support for investigation into Burgas attack

Smoke rises into the sky after an explosion at Burgas airport, Bulgaria, July 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Burgasinfo)
Smoke rises into the sky after an explosion at Burgas airport, Bulgaria, July 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Burgasinfo)

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria says it won’t initiate a push to declare Hezbollah a terror group after last summer’s bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.

The government, however, says it will hand to its partners all evidence collected during the investigation into the attack. An official Bulgarian report last month said investigators had reasons to suggest the bombing suspects belonged to Hezbollah’s militant wing.

Marin Raykov, appointed interim prime minister pending elections in May, says his country “will not initiate an EU procedure for blacklisting persons and organizations.” Raykov made his remarks Friday during a farewell ceremony for the Lebanese ambassador, who pledged Lebanon’s full support for the investigation.

In the European Union, only the Netherlands lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group, while Britain blacklists its military wing. That may soon change however, after the French government on Friday said it is ready to add the Lebanon-based group to the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reportedly informed US Secretary of State John Kerry of Paris’s decision at their meeting on Wednesday, a French official told al-Hayat.

According to the report, the French government had decided to promote the idea in light of Hezbollah’s apparent responsibility for the Burgas attack, as well as its support for the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Earlier this week, the parliament of Bahrain passed a bill declaring the Lebanese group a terrorist organization and called on other Persian Gulf nations to follow suit.

Hezbollah receives military training, financial support and weapons from Iran. According to the Middle East Forum, a conservative American think tank, the US estimates that Iran provides the Shiite terror organization with $60-100 million annually.

The group has been accused of several major terror attacks in the past 20 years, including the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that killed 85 people.

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