EU Members Unanimously Agree to Blacklist Hezbollah as a Terrorist Organization
The European Union agreed Monday to add the military wing of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group and political party, to its official list of terrorist organizations. The decision, which required the unanimous consent of the bloc’s 28 members, will have concrete results: it's expected to result in individual travel bans and asset freezes of affiliated organizations. The members of the EU now join Israel, the Netherlands, and the United States in listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Hezbollah has played an important and instrumental role in the Lebanese government since 2011, and has been supporting Syria's President Bashar Assad forces in their military campaign against the rebel-held areas. It's role in the conflict in Syria, (as well as it alleged involvement in last July's attack in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis and their driver), increased support among EU members for the sanctions.
The decision also comes in the wake of the EU's backing of John Kerry and his efforts to revive peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. At the end of his trip, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday that the two sides had "reached an agreement that establishes a basis for direct final status negotiations." A "cheerful-looking Kerry" said that he expects for initial talks to begin in the next week or so, but Israeli and Palestinian citizens are still skeptical.