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France to put financial sanctions on Azhar; says will try to get him banned by EU

twitter-logoPTI | March 15, 2019 | Updated 18:35 IST

(Eds: Updating with details) New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) In a strong show of support to India, France has decided to impose financial sanctions on Pakistan-based Masood Azhar and said it will work with its European partners for inclusion of the JeM chief on the EU list of persons and entities involved in terrorist acts. The French announcement came two days after a bid, moved by it along with the US and the UK at the UN Security Council to designate the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief as a global terrorist, was blocked by China which put a technical hold on it. India was also a party to the proposal. "A deadly attack took place in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, claiming over 40 victims from the Indian police forces. The JeM, which the United Nations has deemed to be a terrorist organisation since 2001, has claimed responsibility for this attack," said a joint statement by the French ministries of the interior, economy and finance, and foreign affairs. "France has always been and always will be by India's side in the fight against terrorism," it said. Reacting to the French decision, External Affaires Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said,"We welcome the decision taken by France to sanction Masood Azhar, Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based & UN proscribed terrorist organisation; and responsible for the Pulwama terrorist attack." The statement from the French ministries said the country has "decided to sanction Masood Azhar at the national level by freezing his assets" in application of the Monetary and Financial Code. A joint decree of the ministries of the interior, economy and finance was published on Friday in the Official Gazette, it said. "We will raise this issue with our 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," the statement added. China on Wednesday for the fourth time blocked the move for listing Azhar. The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UNSC was moved by France, the UK and the US on February 27, days after a suicide bomber of the JeM killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, leading to a flare-up in tensions between India and Pakistan. The Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee members had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal. Just before the deadline, China put a "technical hold" on the proposal. PTI ASK PYK PYK

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