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Israel's Peres to lobby in Europe against Hezbollah

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Israeli President Shimon Peres will visit Brussels next week to lobby the EU to blacklist Lebanon's Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organisation, his office said on Friday.

During a week-long trip, Peres, 89, would also address the European Parliament in Strasbourg and call on French President Francois Hollande in Paris, said a statement.

Last month, Peres urged the European Union to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group, after Bulgaria blamed it for a July bombing in the Black Sea resort of Burgas which killed five Israeli tourists and their driver.

Peres' office said the Israeli president would also meet Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev and other leaders of the European bloc during his March 5-12 trip.

"The meetings will take place in the context of the inquiry into the terror attack in Bulgaria which found that Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing and the subsequent discussions within Europe on the consequences," it said.

In Cyprus the trial is under way of a man with joint Lebanese and Swedish nationality who has reportedly admitted to belonging to Hezbollah, and who is suspected of planning attacks on Israeli targets.

Washington has also asked Brussels to blacklist Hezbollah but the issue is contested among the 27 member states which would have to reach a unanimous decision.

While in Brussels, Peres would also meet NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development chief Angel Gurria, the statement said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130301/israels-peres-lobby-europe-against-hezbollah