Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui today assured that the matter of designating Jaish-e Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist will be "resolved". China had put a last-minute "hold" on the UN Security Council resolution last week - its fourth such move in a decade. Beijing had said its technical block was meant to buy time so the matter could be discussed and a considered step could be taken.
A UNSC designation would subject Masood Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. The Jaish chief - whose terror group has taken responsibility for the suicide attack in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF men -- gets a free run in Pakistan.
Today, at a function to celebrate Holi at his residence, Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said, "This matter (Masood Azhar on UNSC 1267 list) will be resolved. This is only a technical hold, which means there is time for continued consultations. It will be resolved believe me".
"Regarding Masood Azhar, we fully understand and we fully believe this matter," he said, adding China understands India's concerns and he was optimistic that the matter would be resolved.
China -- a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council and a self-described "all-weather ally" of Pakistan -- had made similar moves in 2009 and 2016. In 2017, Beijing blocked a move by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
This time, in an unusually tough message, a US diplomat at the United Nations, said Beijing "should not protect terrorists from Pakistan or any other country" if it is serious about its stated goal of combatting terrorism. Members, he said, "may be forced to pursue other actions" if this continues. He, however, did not explain what the actions may be.
Last week, France put a freeze and Masood Azhar's assets and said it would hold talks on the matter with the European Union.
Explaining Beijing's position, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said they wanted to make sure that the committee has enough time to study the matter so that the relevant sides will have time for dialogue and consultation. "China conducts thorough and in-depth assessment of these applications and we still need more time, so that is why we put forward the technical hold," the spokesman said.
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