Bulgarian Foreign Minister briefs EU counterparts on Bourgas Airport investigation
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov briefed his European Union counterparts on February 18 2013 on Bulgaria’s investigation that found a solid basis for asserting that the Bourgas Airport terrorist attack led to people linked to Hezbollah’s military wing.
The investigation into the terrorist attack was not a formal item on the agenda of the meeting of the EU foreign ministers and in contrast to some earlier media reports, in the same vein no decision on declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organisation was on the agenda for discussion.
Speaking ahead of the EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Mladenov said that it was important to start a political debate on what measures should be taken collectively by Europe on prevent similar terrorist attacks in the future.
He said that political discussions would be started on measures to be taken as a whole by the EU to ensure the security of its citizens.
According to a report by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, Mladenov said that there were countries that were willing to discuss sanctions against the military wing of Hezbollah, countries that felt the need to identify specific individuals and how they should be sanctioned and countries that believed that the entire organisations should be sanctioned.
The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the only two EU countries that have declared Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.
According to a February 18 report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the assessment in Jerusalem is that it will be a long time before there will be European action against Hezbollah, if only because this would require the agreement of all 27 EU states. Both France and Italy are known to oppose sanctions for fear they would send Lebanon into a serious tailspin that could become violent, while Germany has also been cautious, the report said. “At best, say Israeli foreign ministry officials, France might agree to put a few senior Hezbollah officials on its terror list, but not the whole group,” the Haaretz report said.
(Photo of Nikolai Mladenov: Council of the European Union)