Washington: The US, France and the UK are believed to be in intense ‘good faith’ discussions with China to arrive at a ‘compromise’, including on the language on the UN designation of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, according to people familiar with the matter.
China blocked for the fourth consecutive time a resolution at the UN Security Council Committee on designating Azhar, head of the JeM terror group, as a global terrorist.
If the fresh efforts by the US, France and the UK does not end up in the formal designation of Azhar, the three permanent members are planning to soon move a resolution for his listing in the most powerful wing of the UN which would be preceded by an open debate on the issue, according to people familiar with the matter.
India had expressed disappointment over the Chinese stance and the original co-sponsors of the resolution had warned they will consider ‘other actions’ to achieve their goal.
While the internal consultations of the Security Council committee remain private, this time several Council members, frustrated at China’s unreasonable stance to protect a terrorist, privately spoke to the media the negative role being played by Beijing.
In the last 50 hours, it is believed that the original sponsors of the Azhar resolution are having intense ‘good faith’ consultations with China on what many familiar with the matter describe as a ‘compromise’. This probably means Azhar would be designated as a global terrorist by the UN body, but the language of designation would include a language acceptable to China.
China is believed to have suggested ‘certain changes’ in the language of the terrorist designation. The US, Britain and France are believed to be currently looking at the suggestions. It is understood that there is back-and-forth exchange of texts on the matter.
The three countries have indicated that they are willing to accommodate Chinese request for changes in the language as long as it does not change the substance of the resolution and it ends up designating Azhar as a UN global terrorist.
But unlike in the past, the US, France, Britain and other members of the Security Council are not willing to wait for long to conclude their discussion with China.
It is learnt that China has been informed by these countries that they are seriously looking for other options, in particular an open debate followed by a vote on a resolution to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, pretty soon.
China, after its decision to put a technical hold on the resolution, has invited criticism and its stance has also resulted in an outrage in India.
Beijing would have to calculate the risk of being isolate globally on the issue of fight against terrorism or signing off to a compromised language that would designate Azhar as a global terrorist, since except China, all other UNSC members supported the resolution.