France freezes assets of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar

After freezing assets of Jaish’s Masood Azhar, France said it will discuss putting Masood Azhar on a European Union list of people suspected of being involved in terrorism.

Agencies

New Delhi, March 15:

France has decided to freeze the assets of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) founder and leader Masood Azhar, the French government said on Friday.

In a joint statement issued by the French interior ministry, finance ministry and foreign ministry said they will discuss putting Masood Azhar on a European Union list of people suspected of being involved in terrorism.

“A deadly attack took place in Pulwama on 14th February 2019, claiming over 40 victims from the Indian police forces. The Jaish-e-Mohammed, which the United Nations has deemed to be a terrorist organization since 2001, has claimed responsibility for this attack, the French statement said.

It added, France has decided to sanction Masood Azhar at the national level by freezing his assets in application of the Monetary and Financial Code.”

The statement said France has always been and always will be by India’s side in the fight against terrorism.

The France government said they will raise this issue with other European partners with a view to including Masood Azhar on the European Union list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, based on this decree.

Earlier this week, China had exercised its veto for the fourth time since the 2016 Pathankot terror attack, to place a hold on the move to ban Jaish chief Masood Azhar. It was an attempt to list him as a “global terrorist”.

Despite hectic diplomatic engagement by India and the United States, China sided with its “all-weather friend” Pakistan.

The initial proposal to designate Masood Azhar was moved by the US, UK, and France after JeM claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

In an unprecedented move, this time around 11 countries co-sponsored the move.

Sources told India Today TV that seven were member states from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which included four of the five permanent members (P5)- barring China and all the European nations in the Security Council. The other four were prominent nations from outside of the Security Council.

India had expressed “disappointment” over China’s move. “We are disappointed by this outcome. This has prevented action by the international community to designate the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a proscribed and active terrorist organization which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019”, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement.

Explaining the play of China and Pakistan and that on international issues they remain on the same page, sources told India Today TV: “China is an extended arm of Pakistan on international issues. It just shows the depth of their so-called iron-clad brotherhood.”

India also thanked all those countries that came out in support of India and denounced terrorism.

“We are grateful for the efforts of the Member States who moved the designation proposal and the unprecedented number of all other Security Council members as well as non-members who joined as co-sponsors”, the MEA said.

 

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