WASHINGTON: Failure to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist would pose a threat to regional stability and peace, the United States said on Wednesday ahead of the crucial UNSC sanctions' committee meeting to decide the fate of the Mumbai terror attack mastermind.
Several reports suggest that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 1267 sanctions' committee decision on the JeM chief will be held on March 13. China is likely to block the move of Azhar's designation as a global terrorist.
Responding to a question on China's potentially blocking move, US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said, “the United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Azhar would run counter to this goal.”
“Regarding Masood Azhar, the United States and India work closely together on counterterrorism efforts, and that includes at the United Nations. And our views on Jaish-e-Mohammed and its founder are well known. JEM is a United Nations-designated terrorist group. Azhar is the founder and the leader of JEM, and he meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations. JEM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability and peace,” he said adding that the Trump-led administration is working to ensure that the designation list is updated and accurate.
The UNSC's 1267 committee is expected to take a call on the French-led proposal, backed by the US and the UK, on the listing of the JeM chief as an international terrorist on Wednesday. The chair of the committee notified that if no objection is raised by member nations against the proposal by 1.30 am Indian Standard Time (3 pm New York Time) on March 13, Azhar will be listed under the 1267 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List.
The hearing comes nearly a month after the ghastly Pulwama terror attack led by JeM terrorists that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.
India has repeatedly urged the UNSC to put Azhar under the UN terror list.
"All members of the UNSC are aware of JeM training camps in Pakistan and the JeM chief's presence in Pakistan. We call upon all members of UNSC to list Azhar as a designated terrorist under 1267 UN Sanctions Committee," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
China has once again hinted at blocking the move, stating that "a responsible solution" can only come through discussions.
When asked about India's appeal and China's stand on the issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang Monday said, "First I would like to say that the UNSC as a main body of the UN has strict standards and rules of procedures. Some reports have knowledge of inside information the UNSC. I don't know that can be counted as an evidence."
"China's position on the designation of a terrorist by the 1267 Sanctions Committee is consistent and clear. China adopted a responsible attitude, follows the rules of the procedure of the committee and participated in the discussions in a responsible manner. Only through discussions can we come up with a responsible solution," he said, as reported by PTI.
Beijing so far has blocked the move to list Azhar as a UN-designated terrorist three times.