The European Union says it will appeal against a court decision to strike Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from the bloc's terrorist list. Hamas has labeled the push to keep it blacklisted as "immoral."
Foreign ministers from the 28 EU member states on Monday agreed to appeal the court's judgment, EU Council spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer said.
The EU added Hamas to its list of terrorist organizations in late 2001. Last December, the General Court of the European Union - the bloc's second- highest tribunal - ruled that Hamas should be taken off the blacklist. It said the decision to include the group there in the first place had been based on media and internet reports rather than sound legal judgments.
In a statement released Monday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said EU institutions would now look at remedial actions to avoid similar terror list annulments in the future.
"This ruling was clearly based on procedural grounds and did not imply any assessment by the court of the merits of designating the Hamas as a terrorist organization," Mogherini said.
Hamas, which has controlled the Palestinian territory of Gaza since 2007, has long contested the terrorist classification. The EU appeal means the group will stay on the terrorism list and its assets will be frozen until a final verdict is handed down by the European Court of Justice.
Hamas has condemned EU move to keep it on the list. "The European Union's insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organisations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU's total bias in favor of the Israeli occupation," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told news agency AFP.
A two-month war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip last summer killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians - most of them civilians, and 73 Israelis.
nm/rc (AFP, Reuters)