Britain reaching out to Hizbullah
A Hizbullah member of Lebanon's Parliament will hold a rare meeting with British parliamentarians in London this week, the group announced Saturday.
The visit follows an announcement by Britain's Foreign Office last month that it has contacted Hizbullah's political wing in an attempt to reach out to its legislators. It said its ultimate aim is to encourage the group to abandon violence and play a constructive political role in the deeply divided country.
A Hizbullah statement issued Saturday says Hussein Hajj Hassan was invited by a number of British legislators to take part in a political meeting of parliamentarians to discuss "regional issues." It said he would be traveling to London on Sunday.
Britain's Foreign Office confirmed he has been granted a restricted validity, singly entry visa for the purpose of the visit.
A spokeswoman, speaking anonymously in line with government policy, said the decision "is consistent with the government's policy of exploring contacts with members of Hizbullah's political wing."
She added that there are no plans for official meetings with government ministers, only parliamentarians.
Hizbullah officials told The Associated Press last month that they welcomed talks with Britain but insisted the talks take place publicly.