Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

UK restores links with Hezbollah

Supporters of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah at a rally in Lebanon (28/12/2008)
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah remains popular in Lebanon

Britain says it is re-establishing contacts with the political wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

The move follows "positive political developments" in Lebanon, officials from the UK Foreign Office said.

It comes about 10 months after Hezbollah signed a unity accord in Lebanon and joined the government.

Only last year, the government put Hezbollah's military wing on a list of proscribed organisations over its alleged training of insurgents in Iraq.

"We are exploring certain contacts at an official level with Hezbollah's political wing, including MPs," said a spokesperson for the Foreign Office.

The spokesperson said the UK was doing "all it can" to support Lebanon's unity government, of which Hezbollah's political wing is a part.

"Our objective with Hezbollah remains to encourage them to move away from violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with a range of UN Security Council Resolutions."

The spokesperson said Britain would continue to have no contact with Hezbollah's military wing.

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