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The Economic Times

Masood Azhar ban efforts in final lap

masood-azhar
The US, the UK and France, three permanent members of the council, have been in intense talks with China on the issue, seeking to work out a position that is mutually acceptable.
NEW DELHI: China’s change of stance on Masood Azhar, the likely fallout of sustained diplomacy by three Western bloc members of the UN Security Council besides Russia, could lead to the Jaish chief’s inclusion into the blacklist of global terrorists in near future.

ET has learnt that Azhar could be included in the list, under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN’s top security body, if China were to change its earlier stand on him. China’s views may be known as early as Tuesday. Even otherwise, a decision is likely soon, sources told ET.

The US, the UK and France, three permanent members of the council, have been in intense negotiations with China on the issue, seeking to work out a position that is mutually acceptable. If these talks are successful, China could lift its technical hold on blacklisting Azhar in the near future.

India has separately engaged China when Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Beijing this week. Russia has also quietly engaged China to lift the technical hold as a goodwill gesture to India. Doing so would automatically lead to Azhar’s blacklisting, sources familiar with the development said.

Earlier this month, China said that the listing issue was moving toward a “settlement" while denying that there was an April 23 deadline.

France had moved a resolution in the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee, after the February 14 Pulwama attack, to list Masood Azhar as a terrorist. The French proposal was supported by the US and the UK. Russia had also supported the move besides all other 10 non-permanent members of the council. But China, one of the five members with a veto, put a technical hold on the proposal. However, soon afterward, the US moved a proposal in the UN to ban Azhar.

Azhar is linked to terrorism for "participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities" carried out by JeM, according to an annexure to the US draft. The US, France and the UK had given China until April 23 to remove its technical hold on the Azhar proposal in the 1267 committee, failing which the US would move its proposal in the Security Council.

Vetoing the proposal in the council would have meant that China could run the risk of isolation as all other members on the panel are in favour of naming Azhar a global terrorist.

There have been four attempts through a UN sanctions committee to add Azhar to the blacklist. China blocked three previous requests and put a technical hold on the latest.
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