‘Masood Azhar issue being resolved’: China tells US to hold new resolution

China on Wednesday said the festering issue of blacklisting Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar at the UN was moving towards a “settlement” and asked the US not to push through its own resolution to list him.

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, failing which the three will move a resolution for discussion, vote and passage at the UN Security Council (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 said at the regular ministry briefing on Wednesday.

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 added.

The US on March 27 had circulated a draft resolution within the powerful 15-nation UNSC to list Azhar as a global terrorist. Washington took the direct route to the UNSC after China on March 13 put a hold on an international proposal to list Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.

“We hope the relevant country can respect the opinions of most members of the Security Council to act in a cooperative manner and to help resolve this issue properly within the framework of 1267 committee,” Lu said.

“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 UNSC and its subsidiary bodies. We think members should follow and abide by such procedures,” he said.

Lu continued to oppose the US move. Asked if Beijing has been set a deadline of April 23 to lift the technical hold on resolution banning 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,” he said.

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.