French FM meets Hezbollah lawmakers in Lebanon

Foreign Ministry in Israel criticizes French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's meeting with Hezbollah members in Lebanon.

Elad Benari ,

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

The Foreign Ministry in Israel is fuming following a visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Lebanon, during which he reportedly met with Hezbollah parliamentarians.

The Lebanese news website on Tuesday Al-Joumhouria quoted “well-informed” sources who said the French minister would meet a Hezbollah delegation including lawmaker Ali Fayyad as well as Ammar al-Musawi, who is in charge of Hezbollah’s international relations, during his two-day visit to Lebanon.

It should be noted that in 2013, the European Union listed Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization while distinguishing between its “military wing” and its political arm and failing to blacklist the latter.

"It is too bad that the French Foreign Minister did not consult with Arab countries that do not distinguish between Hezbollah's military wing and its political wing. It is obvious that Foreign Minister Ayrault would never meet with the 'political wing' of ISIS,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Indeed, unlike the EU, several Arab countries have blacklisted the Hezbollah organization in its entirety. Bahrain in April of 2013 became the first Arab country to blacklist the group as a terrorist organization.

Earlier this year, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) designated the Shiite movement for its "terrorist acts and incitement in Syria, Yemen and in Iraq".

Ayrault's visit to Lebanon is not the first time that French officials have met with members of Hezbollah. In January of 2014, six months after the EU blacklist, a French presidential aide held talks in Beirut with Moussawi.