China Blocking Masood Azhar Move Runs Counter To Shared Interest, Says US

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New Delhi: The US shares a mutual interest with China in achieving regional stability and peace, and a “failure” to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist would run counter to this goal, a spokesperson in the American embassy in New Delhi today said.

The comments, seen as veiled criticism of Beijing, came a day after China blocked listing Azhar as global terrorist by the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

The spokesperson said Washington will continue to work with the UN sanctions committee to ensure that the designation list is “updated and accurate”.

“As the United Nations sanctions committee deliberations are confidential, we don’t comment on specific matters, but we will continue to work with the sanctions committee to ensure that the designation list is updated and accurate,” the official said.

“With respect to China, the United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal,” he added.

On Wednesday, China put a “technical hold” on the designation of Azhar as a global terrorist, saying the move would give it time for a “thorough and in-depth assessment” of the case and help the parties concerned.

The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27, days after a suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, leading to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan.

The Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee members had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal. Just before the deadline ended, China put a “technical hold” on the proposal seeking “more time to examine” it.

The proposal was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist.

“Our views on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and its founder Masood Azhar are well known. JeM is a United Nations-designated terrorist group. Azhar is the founder and the leader of JeM, and he clearly meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations,” the US Embassy official said.

He said the JeM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace.