ISLAMABAD: Beijing on Monday emphasised “responsible and serious discussions” as diplomacy picked pace ahead of the date for UN Security Council’s sanctions committee to take up a fresh resolution for listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.
“China will continue to communicate and work with relevant parties in a responsible manner so as to properly resolve this matter. Only by making a decision through responsible and serious discussions can we resolve the issue in a sustainable manner,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in a media briefing in Beijing while responding to a query about China’s position on the issue.
China has thrice in the past blocked on technical grounds bids for designation of Azhar as a terrorist by the UNSC. The United States, the United Kingdom and France have once again moved for Azhar’s listing after Feb 14 Pulwama attack, which was claimed by JeM. The resolution moved on Feb 28 has to be taken up by the 1267 Sanctions Committee by March 13.
According to Mr Kang, Beijing sees recent escalation between India and Pakistan as “not conducive to the peace and stability in South Asia” and it mediated to defuse the situation. “In our exchanges of views on regional situation, the security issue features in our discussion with India and Pakistan. We have had extensive and in-depth talks with both sides,” he said in a reference to China discussing Azhar listing with both sides.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, meanwhile, spoke to US National Security Adviser Ambassador John Bolton over phone to share with him “Pakistan’s perspective on the recent regional developments”, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.
Mr Qureshi’s called the American NSA as Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale began a three-day trip to US for “strategic and security” related discussions. Although, the Indo-US talks are taking place under a regular high level discussion on ‘security and strategic issues’, but it is expected that Azhar blacklisting and other issues related to recent tense events between India and Pakistan would be high on the agenda during those parleys.
Mr Bolton recalled his and Secretary Pompeo’s efforts for de-escalation despite their commitments related to talks with DPRK in Hanoi. “He appreciated Pakistan measures which had helped lowering the tension and urged continued restraint on both sides,” the FO said, adding that the need for dialogue between Pakistan and India to find peaceful resolution to all outstanding disputes was also emphasised.
Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2019