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‘Masood Azhar case moving towards settlement’: China

China’s foreign ministry rejected reports that said the US, the UK, and France had asked China to lift the “technical hold” against listing Azhar at a UN sanctions committee by April 23.

world Updated: Apr 18, 2019 00:02 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
masood azhar,china,US
China has so far blocked four bids at the UN to designate Azhar a global terrorist, arguing that there was no consensus on the member countries on the issue and that there wasn’t enough evidence.(AP)

China on Wednesday said the issue of designating Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the UN was moving towards a “settlement”, and asked the US not to push through a resolution to list him at the UN Security Council.

The foreign ministry also rejected reports that the US, the UK and France had asked China to lift its “technical hold” on the listing of Azhar as a terrorist at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanction Committee by April 23, failing which the three nations will formally move the resolution for discussion, voting and passage at the UNSC.

“On the issue of the listing of Masood Azhar, China’s position remains unchanged. We are also having communication with relevant parties and the matter is moving towards the direction of settlement,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular news briefing.

Responding to a question on the US move, Lu said: “Regarding what you said, relevant parties are forcing a new resolution through the Security Council. We firmly oppose that.

“In relevant discussions, most members expressed that this issue should be discussed within the 1267 Committee and they don’t hope to bypass the 1267 Committee to handle the issue,” Lu said, using another name to refer to UN sanctions committee.

In an article in the Chinese embassy’s official magazine, China’s ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, had said his country “attaches importance” to India’s concerns related to the listing of Azhar and will strengthen communication to find a “proper solution”. Angered by China’s blocking of efforts to designate Azhar as a global terrorist for the fourth time on March 13, the US had on March 27 circulated a draft resolution within the 15-member UNSC to list the JeM chief.

Also read: Masood Azhar: Inside the mind of a global terror merchant

The three countries are hoping to increase pressure on China as the introduction of a resolution at the Security Council will lead to an open debate and Beijing will be forced to explain why it has been shielding the head of a designated terror group, apparently at the behest of Islamabad.

Lu added China hopes the “relevant country can respect opinions of most members of Security Council to act in a cooperative manner and to help resolve this issue properly within the framework of the 1267 Committee”.

He added, “The matter is now moving in the direction of the settlement. As to the specifics for the discussion in the 1267 Committee, there are clear procedures and regulations regarding the UN Security Council and its subsidiary bodies. We think members should follow and abide by such procedures,” he said.

Asked if Beijing had been set a deadline of April 23 to lift the hold on the move to designate Azhar at the 1267 Committee, Lu said: “I don’t know from where you get such information, but the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies like the 1267 Committee, they have clear rules of procedures and you have to seek clarification from those sources.

“China’s position is very clear. This issue should be resolved through cooperation and we don’t believe that any efforts without consensus of most members will achieve satisfying results.” While blocking all moves to designate Azhar at the UN, China has argued that there was no consensus on the issue among member states and there wasn’t enough evidence against the JeM head.

The JeM claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide car bombing of a bus carrying CRPF personnel in Pulwama, J&K, that killed 40 troopers. On February 26, IAF bombed JeM’s main terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in reprisal for the terror attack.

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 15:21 IST