The United States Wednesday reiterated its stand on the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, saying he “meets the criteria for designation by the United Nations” as a global terrorist and that a failure to list him would “run counter to the goal” of China and the United States in bringing stability and peace in the South-east Asia region.
US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said: “I would say that the United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar would run counter to this goal”.
“Our views on Jaish-e-Mohammed and its founder are well known. JeM is a United Nations-designated terrorist group,” he said.
The new proposal to list Azhar at the UNSC is co-sponsored by US, UK and France. While Russia has conveyed its support to Delhi, Germany, Belgium and Poland — the three non-permanent members from Europe — have also pledged support.
The US, which has condemned the Pulwama attack and asked Pakistan to take efforts to curb terrorism operating from its soil, said it “works closely with India on counterterrorism efforts and that includes at the UN.”
“Masood 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,” Palladino said.
Less than 24 hours remain before the deadline expires for any member at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) — five permanent and 10 non-permanent — to object to the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist. Even as New Delhi intensifies diplomatic engagements to mobilise support in favour of Azhar’s listing, in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed, all eyes will be on China, which, over the last 10 years, has single-handedly blocked Azhar’s listing.
As Delhi reaches out to world capitals, Beijing continues to keep it guessing on Azhar’s listing. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang’s has said China adopted a “responsible attitude” and followed “rules and procedures” of the UNSC Resolution 1267 sanctions committee was merely a reiteration of its old narrative.
“Only through responsible discussions can we come up with a responsible solution,” Lu had said on Monday. “There has been no forward movement from Beijing so far. But let’s wait until the deadline,” a source told The Indian Express.
The deadline for any country to “seek clarification” — the UN jargon for “raising objection” — is 3 pm New York time Wednesday, which is 12.30 am IST on Thursday.
Sources said the 1267 sanctions committee, which is currently chaired by Indonesia, will wait until 3 pm, and if there is no member country seeking clarification, Azhar gets listed automatically.