China claims Masood Azhar issue at UNSC headed for settlement but says no Apr 23 deadline

BEIJING: China on Wednesday dismissed reports that the US, the UK and France have served an ultimatum to Beijing to lift its “technical hold” by April 23 on branding Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN but claimed the vexed issue was “moving towards settlement”.

After the Pulwama attack, a fresh proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the US and the UK.

However, China, a close ally of Pakistan, blocked the bid by putting a “technical hold” on the proposal. Following this, the US backed by the UK and France moved directly to UN Security Council (UNSC) to blacklist Azhar.

China, a veto-wielding member of the UNSC, opposed the move, saying the issue should be resolved at the 1267 Committee itself which also functioned under the top UN body. (AGENCIES)