US ambassador to Germany calls on Berlin to ban Hezbollah

Berlin (dpa) – The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has called on Germany to ban the Shiite movement Hezbollah, which is considered by the United States to be a terrorist organization. “No matter what the EU’s stance is, Germany could – like the Netherlands and Britain – declare a complete ban,” Grenell writes in the newspaper Die Welt on Friday. “That would not only stop Hezbollah from recruiting supporters and sponsors in Germany. Germany would also be sending a strong sign saying that it does not tolerate violence, terrorism and anti-Semitic hatred,” Grenell writes. In Germany, as in most other EU states, only the military arm of Hezbollah is banned – the political wing is still authorized. The EU put the military wing of Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations in 2013.

Britain put the entire Hezbollah movement on its terrorist list in March, joining the Netherlands, the US and Canada with this action. The German government has argued against following suit, as Hezbollah plays an important societal role in Lebanon, where the movement is represented in parliament and in the government. Grenell said this argument was a false conclusion, as it was still possible to have good communication with the Lebanese government without condoning Hezbollah. “Lebanon receives more development aid from the US than any other country in the world. But we are still loyal to our principles and call Hezbollah by its name: A terrorist organization,” he wrote. German intelligence estimates that there are around 1,000 Hezbollah members in Germany.

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