News Desk |
On Thursday, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, urged the United States to “exercise prudence and refrain from forceful actions” while discussing the issue of blacklisting Masood Azhar, the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, and cautioned that “bypassing the 1267 Committee” would only complicate matters and undermine the sanctity of the UN committee.
These comments have come in the wake of USA’s decision to bypass the 1267 UN Sanctions Committee that had earlier opened up the debate to blacklist Azhar and was stalled by China, and instead, directly draft a resolution in the UN Security Council.
While addressing his regular press conference at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang stated that China did not “veto anything related to this matter” and merely intended to put a hold on the matter in order to conduct a thorough assessment. Shuang reinstated that China had only “put a hold” on sanctions on blacklisting Azhar at the 1267 UN Sanctions Committee, and he noted, “It’s something completely different from a veto in the Security Council.”
China has urged the US to show respect towards the willingness of the relevant parties to engage in dialogue and “observe the traditions of the Security Council to safeguard the 1267 Committee’s authority and the Security Council’s unity”.
Shuang noted that China’s decision to put a “technical hold” on the application to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist was simply to carry out a “comprehensive and thorough assessment”, and this decision was in line with the “procedures of the 1267 Committee and there are many such precedents”.
Shuang further clarified that designating Masood Azhar as a global terrorist is a process that requires assessment of several “complicated factors”. He highlighted that China has identified the willingness of the relevant parties to “conduct dialogue and consultation”, and China has always encouraged setting the issue through comprehensive dialogue.
Shuang noted, “Under current circumstances, the Security Council should act prudently and play a constructive role by allowing time and space for dialogue and consultation between parties concerned.” While referring to the US move to put forward a draft resolution directly to the UN Security Council, Shuang noted that that this decision has undermined the authority of the 1267 UN Committee as a “main counter-terrorism agency”, and cautioned, “Such an act will do nothing to facilitate a solution through consultation and will only lead to further complication of the issue.” Shuang further added that the US decision is “not conducive to upholding the unity of the Security Council.”
China has urged the US to show respect towards the willingness of the relevant parties to engage in dialogue and “observe the traditions of the Security Council to safeguard the 1267 Committee’s authority and the Security Council’s unity”. Shuang concluded, “We hope the US will, by all means, exercise prudence and refrain from forceful actions.”
US Attempts of Stirring up a Storm
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that US had circulated a draft to blacklist Masood Azhar directly at the UN Security Council, setting the stage for a potential spar with Beijing that has been repeatedly stalling this move. Earlier in March, China had put a hold on the 1267 UN Sanctions Committee’s decision to designate the JeM chief as a global terrorist who alleged accusations of his ties with Al-Qaeda.
Qureshi revealed that the group’s leadership had been contacted through individuals who are “known to JeM” and had urged India to “provide actionable evidence” that would prove Masood and JeM’s involvement in a court of law.
After its request was stalled in the UN Sanctions Committee, the US decided to approach the UNSC directly, and reports reveal that this draft resolution is supported by Britain and France, who had also backed the US demands to blacklist Masood in the UN Sanctions Committee earlier this month. AFP reveals that the draft resolution condemns the Pulwama suicide bombing, and demands designating Azhar to the UN Al Qaeda and Islamic State sanctions blacklist.
This would lead to a global travel ban on Masood Azhar, along with subjecting him to an assets freeze and an arms embargo. The draft submitted by the US has associated Azhar with terror activities, and for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities”, which have been allegedly carried out under the banner of his organization, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
It has not been announced when the United Nations Security Council will convene a vote on this draft resolution submitted by the US, however, China’s stance on the issue indicates that Beijing is still likely to veto such a move and demand more time to carry out a comprehensive assessment and encourage dialogue.
India has repeatedly accused Masood Azhar and Jaish-e-Mohammad for “claiming responsibility” of the Pulwama attack, which claimed the lives of 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers, with no conclusive evidence except a dubious video of the alleged suicide attacker that has garnered suspicion over various technical failings.
During an interview to BBC News, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had noted that there is “still confusion” over how and whether the Jaish-e-Mohammad organization had indeed claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack”. Qureshi noted, “The confusion is that the leadership (of JeM) when contacted, said no. They have denied that; that’s the confusion.”
Qureshi revealed that the group’s leadership had been contacted through individuals who are “known to JeM” and had urged India to “provide actionable evidence” that would prove Masood and JeM’s involvement in a court of law. Despite the lack of actionable and conclusive evidence, India and its senseless media has continued to hold JeM and consequently Pakistan, responsible for the Pulwama attack.
Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.