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Not opposed to Masood Azhar's banning: Saudi FM


New Delhi, Feb 20: Any terrorist or anyone who supports and finances terrorism must be proscribed by the United Nations, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said on Wednesday, rejecting suggestions that Riyadh was opposed to India's efforts to get JeM chief Masood Azhar banned by the global body.

PM Modi welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

He also said the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia joint statement during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Islamabad on Monday calling for avoiding "politicisation" of the UN listing regime was not at all directed at India's efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Azhar as a "global terrorist".

UN-proscribed JeM has claimed responsibility of the terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed on February 14 in Kashmir's Pulwama district.

"Any person who is a terrorist should be designated. The idea was to ensure that there is no politicisation so that people do not pit somebody who is a political opponent and put his name as a terrorist," he told PTI in an interview.

[Complicity of Pakistan in Pulwama attack strongly underlined during India, Saudi talks]

The Saudi Foreign Minister said his country follows a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and that "anyone who supports and finances terrorism must be designated and punished".

"I think people here assumed that the joint statement had to do with one particular individual (Azhar). It did not. The intention was that the process of designation is clear and not political," he said.

Asked about rising tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama attack, he said Saudi Arabia believed that both countries can de-escalate and resolve issues peacefully.

[Saudi Arabia increases India's Haj quota]

"We hope tension between India and Pakistan will not escalate. You have wise leadership in both the countries represented by respective prime ministers. I believe they will be able to find a way to de-escalate," the Saudi Foreign Minister said.

Asked whether Saaudi Arabia will try to mediate between the two countries, he said "We will not involve ourselves into the tensions between India and Pakistan without being invited by both the countries."

He further said, "We have good relations with both countries and if both want us to play some kind of a role, we would consider it."

The Foreign Minister said no one wants to see armed conflict between the two nuclear powers as only terrorists will benefit from such a confrontation.


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