In contact with India over Masood Azhar issue, says China

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Beijing, April 8 (IANS) China said on Friday it is in “contact” with India over Beijing’s decision to block New Delhi’s move to ban Pathankot terror attack mastermind, Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei, answering a question during his briefing here, said that “China opposes all forms of terrorism and stands ready to strengthen pragmatic cooperation with all parties on fighting terrorism.”

Hong said that “China all along deals with the listing matter of the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1267 on the basis of facts and in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and relevant rules of procedure.

“China remains in contact with all relevant parties including India on this matter,” he added.

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India has raised with China at a “high level” the issue of blocking a ban on the JeM chief.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to raise the matter with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi when she meets him at the Russia, India, China trilateral meet in Moscow later this month.

New Delhi has voiced disappointment over the blocking of its move to get Azhar banned by the UN. It was the second time that China blocked such a move.

India had approached the UN in February to include Masood Azhar in the UN Security Council’s 1267 sanctions list, in the aftermath of the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base by Pakistan-based JeM terrorists.

However, China, a close friend of Pakistan, requested the UN sanctions committee to keep on hold the move to ban Azhar. Beijing maintains that Azhar did not meet the UN criteria to be banned as a terrorist.

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