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Saudi Minister Says Not Opposed to Terrorist Tag for Jaish Chief Masood Azhar

The minister also asserted that the Saudi Arabia-Pakistan joint statement calling for avoiding "politicisation" of the UN listing regime was not directed at India's efforts to get Azhar banned.

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Updated:February 20, 2019, 11:16 PM IST
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Saudi Minister Says Not Opposed to Terrorist Tag for Jaish Chief Masood Azhar
File photo of Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.
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New Delhi: Anyone involved in terror should be proscribed and punished and not just banned by the United Nations, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said on Wednesday amid India’s renewed push to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14, in which 40 jawans were killed.

The minister also asserted that the Saudi Arabia-Pakistan joint statement calling for avoiding "politicisation" of the UN listing regime was not directed at India's efforts to get Azhar banned.

"Any person who is a terrorist should be designated. The idea was to ensure that there is no politicisation so that people don't throw names of their political opponents as terrorists. We should not be careless about throwing names of those who are not terrorists," he said in an interview to PTI.

"I think people here assumed that the joint (Pakistan-Saudi) statement had to do with one particular individual (Azhar). It did not. The intention was that the process of designation is clear and not political," Al-Jubeir, who is here with the Saudi Crown Prince, said.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in a joint statement issued on Wednesday after talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, condemned the Pulwama terror attack in the 'strongest terms' and said that terrorism and extremism are a "common concerns".

In his media statement, PM Modi called the Pulwama attack a "cruel symbol" of the scourge of terrorism and sought punishment for the terrorists and their backers.

Salman, during his Islamabad visit on Monday, had also announced that Saudi Arabia would invest 20 billion dollars investment in Pakistan, a move that invited criticism and was seen as a blow to India’s efforts to diplomatically isolate the neighbour for harbouring terrorists.

But the minister assured support and said his country follows a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and that "anyone who supports and finances the menace must be designated and must be punished".

"Last week's barbaric Pulwama attack was a symbol of the shadow of the inhuman danger hovering over the world. To deal with the scourge, we have agreed that there was a need to ramp up pressure on countries extending any sort of support to terrorism," Modi said, without naming Pakistan.

Asked about rising tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama attack, he said Saudi Arabia believes that both countries can de-escalate and resolve issues peacefully.

"We hope tension between India and Pakistan will not escalate. You have wise leadership in both the countries represented by respective prime ministers. I believe they will be able to find a way to de-escalate," he said.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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