After China’s Masood Azhar block, UNSC vote under consideration

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After China’s Masood Azhar block, UNSC vote under considerationNEW DELHI: Key United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members, including the US, may bring a resolution asking for a UNSC vote to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. This possible move comes after China, for the fourth time, blocked the resolution on Azhar under the 1267 Sanctions Committee list.

A UNSC vote will not have the teeth of a resolution under the 1267 Sanctions Committee, which would have resulted in a travel ban on Azhar and a freezing of his assets. But, senior officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a UNSC vote designating the JeM chief a terrorist will have a “significant naming and shaming effect”.

However, China, as a permanent member of UNSC, can veto such a proposal as well.

US diplomats, following China’s fourth blocking of the 1267 resolution, are of the view that Washington may be forced to pursue other actions at the UNSC if Beijing continued with this policy. Asking for a vote on declaring Azhar a terrorist falls under this ambit, senior officials said.

India’s diplomats feel most UNSC permanent and non-permanent members will vote for such a resolution. Among nonpermanent members, Germany, Poland and Belgium were cosponsors to the 1267 resolution, as were Australia, Bangladesh, Italy and Japan. Russia, besides the UK, France and the US, were cosponsors among permanent UNSC members.

An American diplomat, who did not wish to be identified, said: “If China is serious about counter-terrorism, it should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country from being held accountable to the Council. If China continues to block Azhar’s designation as a terrorist, responsible member states may be forced to pursue other actions at the Security Council.”

There’s also an attempt made by the European Union, led by Germany and France, to list Azhar as a terrorist under an EUIndia list. This would ensure that Azhar will in all practical purposes be a “designated terrorist” in the EU and India. “China may stall the process in UNSC but a listing by the EU will be effective to an extent and it will also be a signal to the world. The initial process towards this has been launched,” a senior official said.

Separately, Russia indicated it will like to work more with India on the Azhar issue at the UN.

China on Thursday said it needs more time to conduct a “thorough investigation.” “China’s stand is in line with the rules, procedures of the UN sanctions committee. The technical hold is to ensure that China has enough time to study the matter,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.