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WASHINGTON: China was the only member of the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee that objected to the proposal to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief a UN-designated global terrorist on Wednesday.

Three of the five permanent UNSC members — the United States, Britain and France — and a non-permanent member, Belgium, had jointly co-sponsored the proposal. They made the move on Feb 27, days after a JeM-claimed suicide bombing in India-held Kashmir killed 40 Indian troops.

The committee had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal. Just before the deadline, China put a “technical hold” on the proposal seeking “more time to examine” it. This was China’s fourth ‘technical hold’ in a row.

The committee included two other permanent members of the UNSC, China and Russia, and 10 non-permanent members — Belgium, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and South Africa.

France, a co-sponsor of the proposal, is the president of the current session.

The committee is also known as the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee after an Oct 15, 1999, resolution that established the body to monitor terrorist activities and sanction those responsible for committing these acts.

There is no formal voting on a proposal. Members can either endorse or reject it by emails too. If a member chooses not to oppose a proposal, after it is formally circulated, it is seen as endorsement.

So, among the 15 members, only China raised an objection by putting a “technical hold” on the suggested move to declare Masood Azhar a UN-designated global terrorist. Others are considered to have endorsed the proposal because they did not oppose it.

Usually, when any of the five permanent members blocks a move, other members do not express their opinion as a “no” by a permanent member kills the proposal.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news briefing in Beijing that China had blocked the proposal because it believed “only a solution that is acceptable to all sides could fundamentally provide a chance for a lasting solution to the issue”.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2019