Minister: EU stance on Hezbollah complicates cabinet picture
UN peacekeepers patrol past Hezbollah flags on July 23. (AFP / Mahmoud Zayyat)
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BEIRUT -- An EU to decision to designate Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization will complicate the formation of the upcoming Cabinet, caretaker State Minister Mohammad Fneish said in remarks published Friday.
“We stressed [to EU Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst] that the decision will make the Cabinet formation process more complicated because the other side [March 14 alliance] will use it to support its stance of opposing the participation of a political party [Hezbollah] in the government,” Fneish told Al-Joumhouriya newspaper.
Fneish, who met Eichhorst Thursday, said he had conveyed to the EU official his party’s belief that the decision to blacklist Hezbollah would give Israel license to target Lebanon.
“We made it clear that the decision gives Israel cover to carry out aggression [against Lebanon] because it can say it is fighting terrorists and this will enable it to carry out aggressive acts as it did in the July[-August 2006] war when it took advantage of [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 1559,” Fneish said.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, who was nominated in early April, has so far failed to form a government due to conditions and counter-conditions set by the rival March 8 and March 14 coalitions.
While Hezbollah, which heads the March 8 coalition, insists it be represented in Cabinet, the opposition has called for a government of non-partisans.
MP Ahmad Fatfat, from the Future Movement, reiterated his party’s demands concerning the makeup of the next government.
“The Future Movement is calling for a Cabinet that runs the affairs of people while controversial issues, mainly the defense strategy, could be addressed during National Dialogue,” he told the Voice of Lebanon radio station.
“The stance [rejecting] Hezbollah’s participation in any Cabinet came before the decision of the European Union thus we should form a non-partisan Cabinet,” he said.
Twenty-eight EU foreign ministers unanimously agreed Monday to put the military wing of Hezbollah on a terrorism blacklist. The decision was driven by concerns over the party’s alleged role in a bus bombing in Bulgaria last year.
Ammar Musawi, Hezbollah’s official in charge of international relations, slammed Thursday the EU decision, warning that it would have repercussions.
Musawi, who spoke following talks with Eichhorst, stressed that no separate military wing of Hezbollah existed.
Eichhorst, in comments to As-Safir newspaper, said the move by the EU would only target the Jihadist Council and Foreign Security Committee of Hezbollah.
She also reiterated that the European organization did not object to Hezbollah participating in the next government.
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