US steps up UNSC moves against Masood Azhar, China objects
29 March 2019
The United States, Britain and France have stepped up moves in the United Nations Security Council to bring Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) after China vetoed an earlier resolution moved by France two weeks ago.
The United States on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution, which is supported by Britain and France, to the 15-member council seeking to designate JeM leader Masood Azhar a terrorist and subjecting him to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze.
China, however, opted to cling to its earlier stand and accused the US of undermining the authority of the UN anti-terror committee by "forcefully moving" a resolution at the UN Security Council to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. America's move only "complicates" the issue, said Beijing, hinting that it would continue to block the move.
China had put a hold on an earlier proposal by France to list Masood Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.
"This is not in line with resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiations. This has reduced the authority of the committee as a main anti-terrorism body of the UNSC and this is not conducive to the solidarity and only complicates the issue. We urge the US to act cautiously and avoid forcefully moving forward this resolution draft," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a media briefing.
JeM has claimed responsibility for the 14 February attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama that killed at least 40 CRPF personnel, making it the deadliest in Kashmir during a 30-year-long insurgency.
China, which had previously prevented the committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017, had then sought more time to consider the proposal even after a "comprehensive and thorough evaluation" of the proposal.
While the Sanctions Committee goes by consensus, a resolution in the Security Council only needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain to pass.
It is not clear when the draft resolution to designate Azhar could be put to a vote.