A United Nations peacekeeper (UNIFIL) stands near a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
A United Nations peacekeeper (UNIFIL) stands near a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Photo: Reuters
A UNIFIL peacekeeper stands near a poster depicting Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

Lithuania designates Hezbollah a terrorist group, bans members from entry

Country's FM hails 'successful cooperation between the Lithuanian and Israeli national security agencies' as Vilnius slaps 10-year sanctions on Iranian-backed organization; Ashkenazi welcomes move as 'courageous and important decision'

i24NEWS |
Published: 08.13.20 , 16:25
Lithuania announced Thursday it was designating Lebanon's Hezbollah organization as a terrorist group in its entirety.
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  • Vilnius also banned the group's members and its affiliates from entering the country, the ban set to remain in place for the next 10 years.
    A United Nations peacekeeper (UNIFIL) stands near a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan NasrallahA United Nations peacekeeper (UNIFIL) stands near a poster depicting Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
    A UNIFIL peacekeeper stands near a poster depicting Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "Having taken into consideration the information acquired by our institutions and partners, we may conclude that ‘Hezbollah’ uses terrorist means that pose threat to the security of a significant number of countries, including Lithuania," Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said in a statement.
    "We appreciate the successful cooperation between the Lithuanian and Israeli national security agencies," he said.
     Hezbollah members celebrate in Qaa, Lebanon Hezbollah members celebrate in Qaa, Lebanon
    Hezbollah members celebrate in Qaa, Lebanon
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed the move as a "courageous and important decision" that will contribute to regional stability.
    He urged the rest of the European Union to follow suit and ban Hezbollah in its entirety.
    גבי אשכנזי באולפן ynetגבי אשכנזי באולפן ynet
    Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    He accused the Iranian proxy of turning areas in Lebanon into, effectively, Iranian enclaves and holding the Lebanese people, as well as the country's economy and political system, hostage to Tehran's interests.
    Earlier this year, Germany also banned Hezbollah in full, while many other EU states only consider the group's military wing a terrorist organization.
    Hezbollah itself denies there is a distinction to be made between its military and political arms and frequently mocked this position.
    Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS
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