Bulgaria must recognize Hezbollah in entirety as terrorist organization
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Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called on Bulgaria to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terror organization while speaking with his Bulgarian counterpart Ekaterina Zakharieva during her visit to Israel on Thursday.
“I call on the Bulgarian government to take a firm stand against Hezbollah … and to declare all the parts of Hezbollah a terror organization,” he said.
“Only a united [front] against terrorism will yield results,” he said.
The European Union has Hezbollah’s military wing, but not its political wing on its terror list. Israel has campaigned for the EU, of which Bulgaria is a member, to recognize Hezbollah’s political wing as a terror entity as well.
It has also asked the 27 individual EU member states to separately declare Hezbollah a terror organization in its entirety.
But to date only Germany and the Netherlands have recognized Hezbollah as a terror entity in its entirety. France, in a manner similar to the EU, has individually recognized Hezbollah’s military wing as a terror group. But none of the other EU member states have taken any individual action on the matter.
Other nations that recognize Hezbollah as a terror group in its entirety are; Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom and Japan. New Zealand and France recognizes only the military wing as a terror group.
Bulgaria has taken no action on the matter even though Hezbollah is linked to a 2012 terror attack in the Bulgarian city of Burgas, in which five Israeli and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed.
Ashkenazi recalled his Bulgarian roots, explaining that his father, a Holocaust survivor, was born there.
He lauded Bulgaria’s heroic efforts to save the country’s Jews during the Holocaust.
“My family and I, together with the Jewish people, will forever remember those who stood by our side during the darkest period of history. It always made me think, why from all the people and nations in Europe” the Bulgarians stood strong against the Nazis when many others in Europe had not.
“It was a choice that regular people made,” he said.
Both he and Zakharieva signed a Memorandum of Understanding on green energy.
But he said the two countries in general want to strengthen cooperation in other fields, including in tourism, given that the country is a popular destination point for Israelis.
Both he and Zakharrieva noted that their countries were marking 30 years of diplomatic ties.
“Bulgaria is a true friend of Israel,” Ashkenazi said.
Bulgaria is among those countries who want to see the resurrection of the annual meetings of the EU-Israel Association Council which last met in 2012. The EU suspended the meetings to protest Israel settlement activity.
“We want to intensify dialogue between the EU and Israel,” she said, adding that there are many opportunities to collaborate on issues relating to terrorism, science and immigration.