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US Steps Up Push to Blacklist Masood Azhar at United Nations as China Refuses to Relent on Veto

The United States circulated a resolution — drafted with British and French support — to the 15-member council that would designate Azhar, subjecting him to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze, diplomats said.

Agencies

Updated:March 28, 2019, 11:04 AM IST
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US Steps Up Push to Blacklist Masood Azhar at United Nations as China Refuses to Relent on Veto
File photo of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar. (Image: Reuters)
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United Nations: The United States, Britain and France stepped up a push for the United Nations Security Council to blacklist Masood Azhar, the head of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), on Wednesday after China prevented an earlier move two weeks ago.

The United States circulated a resolution — drafted with British and French support — to the 15-member council that would designate Azhar, subjecting him to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze, diplomats said.

JeM had claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack that killed at least 40 CRPF men in Pulwama, making it the deadliest in Kashmir. It also led to increased skirmishes between the nuclear-armed neighbours, including aerial aggression.

The United States, Britain and France initially asked the Security Council's Islamic State and al Qaeda sanctions committee, which operates by consensus, to blacklist Azhar. However, China prevented the move.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had conducted a "comprehensive and thorough evaluation" but still needed more time to consider the proposal. China had previously prevented the committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.

Instead of consensus, a resolution only needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain to pass. It was not immediately clear when the draft resolution to designate Azhar could be put to a vote.

The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the draft text.

JeM is a primarily anti-India group that forged ties with al Qaeda and was blacklisted by the U.N. Security Council in 2001. In December 2001, Jaish fighters, along with members of another Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, attacked Parliament.

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