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Hezbollah: EU terror label would be a ‘big mistake’

Deputy secretary-general Naim Qassem says threats ‘do not worry’ Shiite group in the slightest

In this Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, center, waves to his supporters, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon (photo credit: AP/Hussein Malla)
In this Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 file photo, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, center, waves to his supporters, in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon (photo credit: AP/Hussein Malla)

The European Union would be making a “big mistake” labeling Hezbollah a terror organization, the group’s deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, said on Friday.

In an interview with Lebanese television, Qassem said that the threats do not worry Hezbollah.

France this week joined an EU push to declare the Shiite group a terrorist organization amid frustration with Hezbollah’s support for Syria’s military.

France’s move could prove pivotal after Germany joined a British effort to name Hezbollah a terrorist group. The US has long pressured Europe to add Hezbollah to its terrorist list, which would hamper the group’s operations in Europe.

“Germany is in favor of the European Union listing at least the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Wednesday. “This German position is based on an increasingly clearer picture of the facts and on the progress achieved by Cypriot authorities in analyzing terrorist activities. Since the terrible terror attack in Burgas [in Bulgaria] in July 2012, we’ve been conducting intensive talks with our partners. I hope that the necessary consultations within the EU can be concluded rapidly.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France will ask that the military branch of Hezbollah be considered as a terrorist organization.

The United Kingdom filed a request to discuss blacklisting the Shiite militia next Monday at the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

AP contributed to this report. 

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