France working with EU to list Masood Azhar as global terrorist, says MEA days after China blocks bid against JeM chief at UN

New Delhi: France has approached the European Union (EU) to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and the 28-member grouping is expected to take a decision on the issue based on the principle of consensus, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

"France has taken up the matter with the EU. We understand that the EU will take its decision once their process of designating a terrorist is complete," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

"It has to be a unanimous decision," he said. The EU functions under the principle of consensus. The move by France, a member of the EU, came days after China blocked a bid at the United Nations to ban Azhar.

 France working with EU to list Masood Azhar as global terrorist, says MEA days after China blocks bid against JeM chief at UN

File image of Masood Azhar. AFP

The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (UNSC) was moved by France, the UK and the US, in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.

Fourteen out of the 15 members of the UNSC supported the proposal, but China was the only country which did not go with the move.

Diplomatic sources said Germany is also in touch with several member-nations of the EU to list Azhar as a terrorist by the grouping.

"Once the process by the EU is complete, they will make an announcement," said Kumar.

Azhar's listing by the bloc will result in his travel ban as well as freezing of his assets in all 28 countries of the EU.

On 15 March, France imposed financial sanctions on Azhar and said it will work with its European partners to put the JeM chief's name on the EU list of persons and entities involved in terrorist acts.

The decision by France came two days after China put a hold on a fresh move to designate Azhar a global terrorist by the Sanctions Committee of the UNSC.

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Updated Date: Mar 22, 2019 20:42:22 IST