The "sanctity and credibility" of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee have been preserved with the blacklisting of JeM chief Masood Azhar, Indonesia's envoy to the UN and Chair of the Committee Dian Triansyah Djani said. The Indonesian Permanent Representative, who assumed the Presidency of the 15-nation UN Security Council for the month of May, thanked all members of the 1267 Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee after the designation of Azhar as a global terrorist. "I just would like to underline... it's not only the function of the Chair, but all members of the Committee that have been working very hard (on the issue of listing Azhar). But what is more important is not the role of the Chair but what is more important is that we have been able to preserve the sanctity and credibility of the Committee and we have been able to have the listing," Djani said during a press briefing at the UN headquarters on Wednesday.
He was responding on the blacklisting of Azhar and his role in the successful outcome at the Committee, of which he is the Chair. "As I mentioned, we Indonesians are very humble. I'm just doing my function as the Chair trying to facilitate, to bring all parties together, of course, in line with the guidelines," he said. India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin specifically thanked Djani in a video statement issued after Azhar's designation. "I'd like to thank the Permanent Representative of Indonesia who was instrumental in ensuring that the process went smoothly and in accordance with our agreed understanding," Akbaruddin said. At around 9 AM New York time, Akbaruddin was informed by his Indonesian counterpart, who had just assumed the Presidency of the Council for May and Chair of the Sanctions Committee, that no objection had been raised from any country for listing Azhar, meaning China had lifted its hold imposed on the proposal on March 13.
With this, the Sanctions Committee sanctioned Azhar, slapping an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on him, 10 years after India first moved to have him blacklisted at the UN. Azhar listing, Akbaruddin drew an analogy with cricketer M S Dhoni's style and approach of playing and said he too believes in working patiently towards the goal in mind, not getting perturbed by the hurdles and knowing that even in the last lap, things can take a turn for the better so one should not give up early. The successful outcome was the result of hectic diplomatic parleys between New Delhi, Washington, Beijing and New York. Since the crucial UNSC press statement issued by all members including China had mentioned the Pulwama attack and noted JeM taking responsibility, the designating states - the US, the UK, France as well as India did not see it necessary to "re-litigate" the Pulwama attack in Azhar's listing.
It was not just one terror attack that led to the designation of Azhar and that China had been blocking attempts to ban Azhar much before the Pulwama attack, they said. The Sanctions Committee said Azhar was listed as being associated with Al-Qaida for "participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of", "supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material to", "recruiting for", "otherwise supporting acts or activities of", and "other acts or activities indicating association with" JeM. Akbaruddin said there was tremendous support not only from members of the Council but by nations outside of it to ban Azhar. "This is for us a significant outcome because we have been at it for several years. The first effort that we made in this regard was in 2009. More recently, we have been persistent, diligent and in a subterranean manner making all our efforts towards this goal. Today that goal stands achieved.
"I'm grateful to the many many countries who were supportive of this effort. The designating states, the US, the UK and France, also several others within the Council and outside the Council and outside the Council who came forward without any restraints and supported this Indian effort at not tolerating a terrorist," Akbaruddin said. Asked about the Council which is often divided over various issues reaching a consensus on Azhar, Djani said Indonesia came into the Council with the platform of "trying to find consensus, trying to have a united Security Council. The main thing is that there was a decision on the issue and the listing is done". "A consensus decision has been taken where everybody has participated and once again as Chair, we have done our job in trying to facilitate consensus," he said.
Asked whether he see this as a beginning of cooperation in the Council, Djani said: "We have been working very hard with others. We have been a victim of terrorism and that is precisely the point that we took this responsibility". "It is time for us to really work together, all countries regardless of whether it is in the Security Council or in other fora. We have been experiencing quite a lot of cases on terrorist attacks," he said, adding that ever since Indonesia joined the Council in January, it has taken the initiative to issue five press statements condemning terror attacks including in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. "From the viewpoint of Indonesia, we try to do our bit in trying to help in the fight against terrorism," Djani added.