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All eyes on China as US links UNSC move on Azhar to regional peace


Washington, All eyes will be on China globally on Wednesday as the powerful UNSC will take up the proposal for designating Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Sources said designating Azhar as a global terrorist would result in sanctions that include a travel and arms embargo as well as an asset freeze. China has blocked such move thrice in the past.Building pressure on China to back the global community, the United States has said on Tuesday that JeM chief Masood Azhar meets UN criteria to be declared as a global terrorist and 'failure' to do so would be counter to achieve regional stability. 'The United States and China share a mutual interest in achieving regional stability and peace, and that a failure to designate Masood Azhar (a global terrorist) would run counter to this goal,' US State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino has said. 'JeM is a United Nations-designated terrorist group. The terrorist 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, according to media reports. India has held Masood responsible for the Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel and wants firm action against him by both Pakistan and the international community. In what is seen as a significant development, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during his meeting with visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale explained his understanding of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism. "They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory," an MEA statement said. Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale held Foreign Office Consultations in Washington on Tuesday. "Both sides called on Pakistan to meaningfully address the concerns of the international community on terrorism, including cross-border terrorism," an official statement said. China on Monday said it wants to "follow the rules" and favours a "responsible solution" on the issue of the move to designate Pakistan-based Azhar as a global terrorist by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee. "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," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has told media in Beijing. He also has insisted that China's position on the designation of a terrorist by the 1267 Sanctions Committee is consistent and clear.The fresh proposal to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist has been moved by the US, France and Britain after Pulwama Attack. Apparently, the US and other global players do not want China to veto the UNSC move this time. As Secretary Pompeo met Foreign Secretary Gokhale, the US National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke telephonically with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday. Mr Bolton also released a brief message on Twitter and said: “Spoke with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan...The FM (Qureshi) assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue steps to de-escalate tensions with India". China can put a 'technical hold' and delay the UNSC move as it has done in the past. During RIC Foreign Ministers meet in China after Pulwama attack, Indian government sources said even Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had also spoken about 'breeding grounds' in reference to Pakistan. A listing request to designate Masoor Azhar as a terrorist is being considered at the UN Security Council and if 'no objections are raised' by 3 pm on Wednesday in the US (around 12.30 am Thursday morning IST), the move will go through, sources said.

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