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Ready for talks with India on JeM chief: China

Updated March 17, 2019

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Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) founder Masood Azhar. — AFP/File
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) founder Masood Azhar. — AFP/File

BEIJING: China said on Friday it was willing to have more discussions with all parties concerned, including India, on blacklisting the head of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in held Kashmir in February.

China prevented a UN Security Council committee on Wednesday from blacklisting JeM founder Masood Azhar.

India said it was disappointed at the block, while the United States said it was counter to a goal it shared with China of achieving regional peace and stability.

In a statement faxed to Reuters late on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry reiterated that the “technical hold” on the blacklisting was to give more time for the committee to have further consultations on the issue.

China hoped the committee’s actions could “benefit reducing the tense situation and protect regional stability”, the ministry said, responding to a question about calls for boycott of Chinese products in India.

“China is willing to strengthen communication with all parties, including India, to appropriately handle this issue,” it added, without elaborating.

The US, Britain and France had asked the Security Council’s Islamic State and Al Qaeda sanctions committee to subject Azhar to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze. The 15-member committee operates by consensus. China had previously prevented the sanctions committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.

Western powers could also blacklist Azhar by adopting a Security Council resolution, which needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France. Already blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2001, JeM is a primarily anti-India group.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2019