Today, U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03) sent a letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union (EU), urging her to add Hizbollah to the EU's list of terrorist organizations. Hizbollah, which was first designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. government in the 1990s, has a long history of engaging in terrorism in Europe and around the globe. Rep. Kelly spearheaded this bipartisan effort along with Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Ted Deutch (D-FL). The letter, which was signed by over one hundred members of the House of Representatives, discusses the recent Bulgarian government report concluding that Hizbollah planned, financed, and executed the 2012 Burgas bombing, which killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian. These members also sent a second letter to the Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov expressing support for Bulgaria with respect to its findings on the 2012 Burgas bombing and on Bulgaria's next steps regarding Hizbollah. The Bulgarian government presented these findings on the 2012 Burgas bombing to the EU today.
Rep. Kelly issued the following statement:
"Once called the "A-Team of terrorists' by a senior State Department official, Hizbollah has a well-documented and undeniable record of terrorist activity that demands recognition by the international community. For decades, Hizbollah has committed murderous acts on Americans and our allies in both Europe and the Middle East. Any designation for Hizbollah short of terrorist would be untruthful and dangerous. It's impossible to defeat an enemy if you can't define it, and I strongly urge the European Union to recognize Hizbollah for the terrorist organization that it is and the very real threat to peace that it represents."
In December 2012, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H. Res. 834, a bipartisan-supported resolution authored by Rep. Kelly, urging the EU and its member states to designate Hizbollah as a terrorist organization. H. Res. 834 also urges the EU and its members to impose sanctions on Hizbollah for supporting the Assad regime's brutal violence against the Syrian people, and affirms U.S. support for the Bulgarian government and its investigation of the July 18, 2012, terrorist attack in Burgas, which killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian.
In September 2012, Rep. Kelly sent a letter to the President and Ministers of the Commission of the EU urging the Commission to add Hizbollah to the EU's list of terrorist organizations. Rep. Kelly led this bipartisan effort along with Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Steve Israel (D-NY), and Albio Sires (D-NJ). The letter, which was signed by 268 members of the House (158 Republicans and 110 Democrats), discusses Hizbollah's long history of terrorism on European soil and around the globe, including attacks on Americans and Israelis, as well as Hizbollah's close alliance with the brutal regimes in Iran and Syria. The U.S. Department of State first designated Hizbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in the 1990s pursuant to the U.S. Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Under U.S. law, it is a criminal offense to support an FTO.