WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- London's decision to consider talks with the Lebanese Hezbollah complicates regional efforts at developing a coordinated policy toward Beirut, an analysis said.
The British government earlier this month said it would re-establish ties with the political wing of Hezbollah, a move away from bans enacted only four years ago.
London said it was only reaching out to the political wing, though Hezbollah does not make a distinction. Hezbollah officials welcomed the move, calling it a "step in the right direction" for reconciliation in the region.
Washington, however, stood by its decision to keep Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations, saying its position had not changed.
Hezbollah has not carried out a terrorist attack in some time, yet it remains active in the region through its relationship with Iran and various recruiting operations, a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy noted.
The British decision, therefore, undermines broader regional efforts to rein in activity that Western allies consider counterproductive.
"Britain's public decision to re-establish relations with Hezbollah despite its repeated violations of European and international law could seriously undermine joint U.S.-EU initiatives toward Hezbollah and Lebanon in the future," the report said.