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Slovenia, Latvia designate Hezbollah a terrorist organisation

Hezbollah brigades, march in Baghdad, Iraq on 31 May 2019 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images]
Hezbollah brigades march in Baghdad, Iraq on 31 May 2019 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images]

Slovenia and Latvia both designated Hezbollah a terrorist organisation in its entirety yesterday.

The pair are the latest in a series of European and Latin American states to make the designation this year, following the Czech Republic last month.

Slovenia is the seventh European Union (EU) member to break from the bloc's differentiation between Hezbollah's two factions, which considers its military wing, but not the group's political arm, a terrorist organisation.

The Slovenian government said in a statement yesterday that it had "adopted a decision on treating the Hezbollah Group as a criminal and terrorist organisation posing a threat to peace and security."

The statement said lawmakers made the decision based on evidence that "Hezbollah's activities are intertwined with organised crime and the conduct of terrorist or paramilitary activities on a global scale."

Adding a note that Hezbollah has already been designated a terrorist organisation by several countries and organisations across the world.

Both states have been praised for the decision by the US, which staunchly encourages other countries to designate the entirety of Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

READ: US imposes fresh Iran-related sanctions, targets Khamenei-linked foundation

Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US State Department, Cale Brown, said in statement: "Latvia supports US implementation of sanctions related to Hezbollah and has expressed a readiness to place national travel bans on individuals associated with Hezbollah."

Brown added the designations "send a strong message to Hezbollah and its backers in Iran that a new day is coming."

The US official went on to claim that "Hezbollah operatives will no longer be able to operate from European soil and the European Union will follow the lead of a number of European governments by closing the loopholes opened up by the false distinction between Hezbollah's so-called military and political wings."

The US has sanctioned several Hezbollah associates in recent months, in efforts to financially squeeze the Iranian-backed group.

In October, the US announced a $10 million reward for information on Hezbollah's financial links to Iran and intel on three key financiers: Muhammed Qasir, Muhammad Qasim Al Bassal and Ali Qassir.

Meanwhile, last month, the US imposed sanctions on prominent Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil, over his ties to the group.

Bassil, who is Lebanese President Michel Aoun's son-in-law, has claimed the sanctions are unjust, politically motivated the result of his refusal to break ties with Hezbollah.

READ: Iran turns to Hezbollah to calm armed factions in Iraq

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Asia & AmericasEUEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsIranLatviaLebanonMiddle EastNewsSloveniaUS
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