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Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 18th June 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour, Hendon

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.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

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.

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