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Hezbollah

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria will be used in deciding which members of Hezbollah’s political wing officials should meet. (277218)

Our objective with Hezbollah is to urge it to reject violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with UN Security Council resolutions. We believe that occasional and carefully considered contacts with Hezbollah’s politicians, including its MPs, will best advance this objective. The distinction is between those members of Hezbollah who are legitimately involved in Lebanese politics and those who are involved in violence and support terrorism.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts the Government have had with Hezbollah’s political wing since their recent change of policy on contacts with that organisation. (277374)

On 9 January 2009 our ambassador in Beirut attended a meeting of British parliamentarians with the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Committee. Representatives of all members of the National Unity Government were present, including one MP from Hezbollah’s political wing, Ali Amar. During this meeting the ambassador urged all sides to show restraint during the crisis in Gaza, and spoke of the importance of all sides respecting the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In the course of normal diplomatic business, staff at our embassy in Beirut have also met Hezbollah politicians on a number of occasions.

We continue to believe that occasional and carefully considered contacts with Hezbollah’s politicians, including its MPs, will best advance our objective of urging Hezbollah to reject violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.