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March 11, 2013 11:53 am
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Ireland’s Minister for Defense: No Reason to Distinguish Between Political, Military Arms of Hezbollah

avatar by Zach Pontz

Ireland's Minister for Defense Alan Shatter. Photo: Wikipedia

It is not a “valid distinction” to differentiate between Hezbollah’s military and political wings, Alan Shatter, Ireland’s minister for defense, justice and equality, told the Lebanese website The Daily Star.

“I think Hezbollah is a single organization,” he continued, adding: “it doesn’t reflect … the structure of the IRA [Irish Republican Army] where the IRA, or Provisional IRA, was a military wing and Sinn Fein was a political wing.”

The minister was commenting on the emerging European Union debate over whether Hezbollah should be officially designated a terrorist organization following an investigation by Bulgarian authorities into a suicide bombing in that country last summer that pointed the finger of culpability at the Lebanese Shiite organization.

“Whether Hezbollah would be named a terrorist organization or not from a European perspective is a matter that remains to be considered by European justice ministers,” Shatter said.

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Ireland, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Council, hosted a meeting of EU justice ministers in January during which Bulgaria briefed attendees on the progress of this investigation, Shatter added.

While condemning the attack, Shatter highlighted that it is “important … that the Bulgarian authorities complete their investigation, and that we don’t jump to conclusions.”

Shatter was in Lebanon on the first leg of a trip to the region during which he will be briefed by Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian Arab officials.

The only EU member state that currently lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group is the Netherlands, while the United Kingdom distinguishes between Hezbollah’s political and military wings, proscribing the latter as a terrorist organization.

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