France freezes assets of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar
A joint statement issued by the French interior ministry, finance ministry and foreign ministry added that France would discuss putting Masood Azhar on a European Union list of people suspected of being involved in terrorism.Updated: Mar 15, 2019 16:07 IST
France has decided to freeze the assets of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and said that it would discuss putting him on a European Union list of people suspected of being involved in terrorism.
A joint statement issued by the French interior ministry, finance ministry and foreign ministry said France has always been and always will be by India’s side in the fight against terrorism. “We will raise this issue with our European partners with a view to including Masood Azhar on the European Union list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, based on this decree,” the statement said.
Pakistan is under pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed at least 40 CRPF personnel.
France led a latest move to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security with the backing of the US and Britain in the wake of the Pulwama suicide bombing. The move was blocked by China on Thursday, the fourth time Beijing has done so.
A statement by the external affairs ministry didn’t name the UN Security Council member responsible for blocking the proposal on the Jaish chief but people familiar with developments confirmed that China was behind the “technical hold”.
China had said that needed more time to study the matter and it was sincere about building better relations with India.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang had said Beijing always carries out “thorough and in-depth” investigation of the applications to the UN sanctions committee.
“The UNSC 1267 committee has clear standards and procedures for designating terrorist organisations and individuals. China conducts through in-depth assessment of this application and we still need time. That is why put forward the technical hold,” Lu said. He added that it was in line with the rules of the committee.
Beijing’s move also raised questions about the apparent upswing in relations with New Delhi after last year’s informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan.
China’s “technical hold” is valid for six months and can be extended by three months. The other 14 members of the Security Council supported the listing.
Some permanent members of the UN Security Council are considering “other actions” to counter Beijing’s persistent opposition to the designation of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
A Security Council diplomat said: “If China continues to block this designation, responsible member-states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council. It shouldn’t have to come to that.”
Other UN officials familiar with rules for listing terrorists said the stalled proposal can be escalated to the Security Council for an open discussion and vote.
Watch: Explained: Three possible reasons why China blocked UN move on Masood Azhar
First Published: Mar 15, 2019 12:41 IST