“The relevant consultations are going on within the committee and have achieved some progress,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, adding that he believed the issue of Azhar’s listing, which was put on hold by Beijing on March 13, “can be properly resolved.”
Asked specifically about a newspaper report that the listing would be done on May 1, Mr. Geng said, “China is still working with the relevant parties and we are in contact with all relevant parties within the 1267 Committee and I believe with the efforts of all parties, this will be properly resolved.”
“Regarding the listing issue in the 1267 Committee, we have expressed our position many times and I just want to stress two points,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said answering a number of questions on designating Azhar as a global terrorist.
“First, we support the listing issue being settled within the 1267 committee through dialogue and consultation and I believe this is the consensus of most members. Second, the relevant consultations are going on within the committee and has achieved some progress. Third, I believe, with the joint efforts of all parties, this issue can be properly resolved,” he said at a media briefing here.
“I can only say that I believe that this will be properly resolved,” Geng added.
The US, the UK and France this time stepped up pressure on Beijing by taking the issue directly to the powerful UN Security Council (UNSC).
Though China can exercise its veto power as a permanent member of the UNSC, Beijing has staunchly opposed the issue to be taken to the apex UN body as it has to publicly explain its stand on its reservations to list Azhar before exercising its veto.
The efforts to resolve Azhar’s listing issue gathered momentum last week with the visit of Imran Khan to Beijing to attend China’s 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) which was held here from April 25-27.
Asked about the outcome of Khan’s visit and his talks with the Chinese leaders, Geng said, “I would like to stress that Pakistan is China’s ‘All Weather Strategic Cooperative Partner’.”
Both the countries are “Iron Brothers”, he said, adding that “we firmly support each other on the issues concerning our core interests. Pakistan is always one of China’s diplomatic priorities”.
“No matter how the international and regional situation may evolve, we firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity, independently choosing its development path based on its own conditions, securing a sound external environment and playing a constructive role in international and regional affairs,” said Geng.