The United States has welcomed Serbia’s intention to recognize the Lebanese-based Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization, calling on other countries to follow the lead, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Sunday.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic signed an agreement committing Belgrade to recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization during his visit to Washington last week, where he attended talks with US President Donald Trump and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti.
Kosovo already designated Hezbollah’s military wing last year and extended the designation upon its political wing in June.
“Serbia’s announcement that it will designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization in its entirety is another significant step limiting this Iranian backed terrorist group’s ability to operate in Europe,” the statement read.
Pompeo described Serbia’s announcement as “dominoes … falling on Hizballah’s European operations,” urging the countries to designate the organization in its entirety with no distinction between its military and political wings.
“We urge all countries in Europe and elsewhere to take whatever action they can to prevent Hizballah operatives, recruiters, and financiers from operating on their territories,” the statement added.
Hezbollah was established in the 1980s as a paramilitary and political organization originating in Lebanon’s Shiite population. The group initially aimed to end Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah’s military wing is also active in Syria, where it is fighting on behalf of the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.