Talks of listing Azhar as terrorist may figure at RIC Foreign Ministers meet

Besides, EAM Sushma Swaraj would also hold bilateral talks with her Chinese and Russian counterparts.

Wuzhen: The Pulwama terrorist attack and the listing of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN is expected to figure prominently at Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers' meeting being held here on Wednesday.

Besides attending the annual trilateral meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would also hold bilateral talks with her Chinese and Russian counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting in which the listing of Azhar by the UN's 1267 committee is expected to figure. Swaraj's meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi assumes significance as it is the first high-level interaction between the two countries after the Pulwama terror attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead.

China, a veto-wielding member, has consistently blocked India, the US, the UK and France's efforts to list Azhar as a global terrorist since 2016 but endorsed a scathing statement issued by UN Security Council on February 21 on the Pulwama attack.

The UNSC statement on the the Pulwama attack stated that "the members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir, which left 40 Indian paramilitary forces dead and dozens wounded on February 14, 2019, for which Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility”.

But after endorsing the statement in which JeM has been named, China the next day in an apparent attempt to placate Pakistan sought to play it down, saying that the mention of JeM in the statement was only in general terms and does not represent a judgement.

The issue of listing of Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN is expected to come up before the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council again as France, also a veto-wielding member of the high-power UN body, said it would move the resolution again. The issue is also expected to figure prominently in Swaraj's talks with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.

This is the 16th meeting of the RIC Foreign Ministers. During the meeting, the three Foreign Ministers will focus on implementation of our 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, Chinese Foreign Minister Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing on February 20.

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