Sushma Swaraj reaches out to China over JeM chief's Masood Azhar's global terrorist tag
In the Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers' conference , the three Foreign Ministers will exchange views on major international, regional issues of common concern and better trilateral cooperation.
BEIJING: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi would meet on the sidelines of next week's Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers' conference in China amid Beijing's continued blocking of India and other countries' moves to list Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
The meeting assumes significance as it will be the first high-level interaction between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed on February 14.
China, while expressing shock over the incident, reiterated its stand to block moves to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee. "The 16th meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers would be held at the Chinese city of Wuzhen in the eastern Zhejiang province on February 27," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced on Wednesday.
During this foreign ministers' meeting, the three Foreign Ministers will focus on the implementation of their leaders' consensus, and exchange views on major international, regional issues of common concern and deepening trilateral cooperation. "I am sure this meeting will achieve positive outcomes," Geng said.
Besides Swaraj and Wang, the meeting would be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, he said. Official sources here told PTI that Swaraj and Wang would also meet on the sidelines of the RIC ministers meeting.
This is expected to provide an opportunity for both the ministers to have in-depth discussions on China's reluctance to back efforts by India, the US, the UK and France to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee. China, an "all-weather" ally of Pakistan and a veto-wielding member, has stonewalled all efforts by the four countries by putting technical holds since 2016.
However France, also a veto-wielding member, has announced that it would move a new resolution in the 1267 Committee to list Azhar in the light of the Pulwama attack. To a question about the RIC meeting taking place under the shadow of the Pulwama attack, Geng, while reiterating China's stand, said that Beijing would adopt a constructive stand on this issue.
China hopes that with the concerted efforts by the three countries, RIC ministers meeting will achieve positive outcomes, he said. "You talked about the designation of JeM head as an international terrorist, I have already answered many questions regarding the same. "The 1267 committee of UN Security Council has clear rules and procedures when it comes to the designation of terrorists and terrorist organisations. On this issue, we will adopt a constructive attitude to work with all sides," Geng said.
In a written reply to a question from PTI about France's decision to once again move a proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist, Geng said, "I am not aware of the specific situation you mentioned. The 1267 security committee has clear norms on the listing and procedures of terrorist organisations or individuals. China will continue to communicate and cooperate with relevant parties in a constructive and responsible manner".
On February 15, Geng, when asked about the External Affairs Ministry's appeal to all members of the UN Security Council to list Azhar as a global terrorist after the Pulwama attack, said, "As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 committee of security council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations. "JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner".
On the forthcoming RIC meeting which is an annual affair, Geng in his Wednesday's media briefing said that China, Russia and India are important countries of the world and newly-emerging markets. They share important common interests and responsibilities in maintaining world peace, stability and development.
Since the establishment of the trilateral mechanism, this has played an important role in enhancing strategic communication and coordinating positions, and seeking consensus and cooperation between the three countries, he said. In last November, leaders of the three countries held an informal meeting in Argentina.