French figures call on Macron to back EU efforts to ban Hezbollah

“Without a firm condemnation of Hezbollah, France’s action, in trying to lend support to an old friend in the region, would be futile,” concluded the signatories.
Tuesday 01/09/2020
A supporter of Lebanon’s Hezbollah holds a Hezbollah flag in Marjayoun, Lebanon. (REUTERS)
A supporter of Lebanon’s Hezbollah holds a Hezbollah flag in Marjayoun, Lebanon. (REUTERS)

PARIS--A group of prominent French figures has called on French President Emmanuel Macron to declare the Iran-backed Lebanese party Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and not to block European Union efforts to blacklist the militant group.

Their call came in a petition published by the French daily Le Figaro on the eve of Macron’s visit to Lebanon.

The signatories of the petition included former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, former Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, former Environment Minister and party leader Corinne Lepage and philosopher and novelist Pascal Bruckner.

The French figures highlighted the militant party’s nefarious role in Lebanon, which they said rendered any reforms in the country virtually impossible.

“During the last twenty years, Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, has avowedly created a state within the state and established itself as a substitute for the Lebanese army,” they said, calling on the international community to “recognise the major problem that is constituted by Hezbollah’s in the country’s reconstruction.”

The signatories also highlighted the militant party’s destablising influence in the region and the world.

“Hezbollah increasingly and without any scruples exerts its power of nuisance in Lebanon at the same time that it weighs on regional, European, and intentional security,” they said.

They described the Shia party as “an actor with regional ambitions whose power and resources emanate from the outside, especially from Iran.”

The French figures, who endorsed European efforts to impose an EU ban on Hezbollah, asked the French president to not block “the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation by the European Union. ”

“This is not a form of interference .. but is part of our global struggle against terrorism”

They note that several countries, including the United States, Arab Gulf countries, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Lithuania have already designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

“Without a firm condemnation of Hezbollah, France’s action, in trying to lend support to an old friend in the region, would be futile,” concluded the signatories.