US welcomes Lithuania's ban on Hezbollah

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The United States has praised Lithuania for banning Hezbollah affiliates after the European Union member said the Iran-backed Lebanese group posed a security threat.

Lithuania's move follows similar stances by the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands among others.

US Secretary Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Lithuania recognised that there was no distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wing, as he urged EU member states to follow suit.

“At the bidding of its patron state Iran, Hezbollah’s terrorist attacks in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East have resulted in the wanton killing of hundreds of people and caused the misery of many thousands more,” Mr Pompeo said.

“In Lebanon, Hezbollah undermines sovereignty and governance, seeking to protect its arms and finances at the expense of the Lebanese people.

“Hezbollah has no role to play in a constructive civil society, and it is to Lithuania’s great credit to have taken this important step to further constrict Hezbollah’s activity in Europe,” he said.

In announcing the decision on Thursday, Lithuania’s foreign minister Linas Linkevicius said his country continued to support the Lebanese people’s desire for reform.

"Having taken into consideration the information acquired by our institutions and partners, we may conclude that Hezbollah uses terrorist means that pose threat to the security of a significant number of countries, including Lithuania," he said.

The map reveals extensive funding operations centred on Europe. Courtesy of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

In a separate tweet, Mr Linkevicius said Hezbollah’s violent hostility posed a clear threat to many around the world.

Israel, whose co-operation with Lithuania’s national security agency was praised by Mr Linkevicius, also welcomed the move.

Updated: August 15, 2020 07:59 PM

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