Miqati Sticks to his Bulgaria Statement as Official Government Stanceإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Najib Miqati shied away on Thursday from responding to criticism over the Lebanese government's failure to issue a statement on Bulgarian accusations of Hizbullah's involvement in a deadly attack on Israeli tourists last year.
Miqati told An Nahar newspaper that he issued on Tuesday a statement “setting Lebanon's” stance from Bulgaria's accusations as soon as Sofia blamed Hizbullah for the July 2012 attack on a bus that killed five Israeli tourists at Burgas airport.
The statement was “clear and reflects the official stance of the Lebanese government,” he said.
“There was no need to discuss it again during the session yesterday (Wednesday) as long as there was consensus on it,” he said after criticism was made over the cabinet's failure to issue a statement following its session at the Grand Serail.
Asked whether Hizbullah is compelled to abide by the statement, Miqati said: “The prime minister expresses the official stance of the government.”
Al-Joumhouria quoted a minister as saying that the PM refused to discuss the issue during the session over Sofia's failure to inform Lebanon about the results of its investigation.
Miqati said in Tuesday's statement that he condemns any assault against any Arab or foreign country, vowing to cooperate with Bulgaria in the investigation into the attack.
He voiced Lebanon's “confidence that the concerned Bulgarian authorities would seriously assess what the findings of these investigations would yield.”
Lebanon is committed to the security of Bulgaria and all members of the European Union, he added.
In remarks to Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5), Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas echoed a similar viewpoint, saying the government made its official stance on the Bulgarian accusations through the PM's statement.
He stressed that demands to designate Hizbullah a terrorist organization are not on the agenda of an EU meeting on Thursday.
Nahhas said the government should be “wise” in dealing with the Bulgarian accusations.
Any decision on adding Hizbullah to the EU list of terrorist organizations would require a unanimous decision by the foreign ministers of all 27 EU countries, whose next scheduled meeting is Feb. 18.
Under EU law, to declare a group a terrorist organization there must be proof that those who control it are terrorists, not just that its members were involved in a terror plot. The designation would also require the EU to freeze Hizbullah's assets in Europe and to work to choke off further funds reaching the group.