BEIJING: China on Monday claimed that “positive progress” has been made on designating Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a ‘global terrorist’ by the UN and accused the US of scuttling its efforts by taking the matter directly to the Security Council, setting a “bad example”.
Two weeks after China put a hold on a French proposal to list Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council, the US on March 27 circulated a draft resolution to the powerful 15-nation Council to blacklist Azhar and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo.
China last week defended its repeated attempts to block the listing of the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief as a global terrorist and refuted the US allegation that Beijing’s action amounted to protecting violent Islamic groups from sanctions.
“After the application for designation of Azhar was proposed (in the 1267 committee), China is in close communication and coordination with various parties and made positive progress. The US knows that very well,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here on Monday.
Asked to clarify whether the progress he meant was to resolve the vexed issue of listing Azhar, Geng said, “Yes. The US knows that very well”. However, he did not elaborate.
China has so far blocked the move four times in recent years. On March 13, it blocked a proposal by France and backed by the US and the UK, in the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, saying Beijing wanted more time to study the case. A hold on the proposal would also provided time and space for the relevant parties to hold talks after the Pulwama terrorist attack, the Chinese foreign ministry said.