Masood Azhar UN sanction: China’s veto won’t prevent us from acting against terrorists, says US
Amid Chinese opposition to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, the United States today said that countries using veto to scuttle sanctioning of terrorists will not "preclude" it from taking action.
China has continuously opposed the move to list Pakistan-based Azhar as a terrorist in the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council. Beijing last year put a technical hold twice on India's application to get Azhar banned by the UN.
"The administration is very much is looking at all of these avenues and some of the things we have talked about is sanctions and who is on the list and how we have managed that," US' envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley told reporters.
"What we are going to try and find our place with, is that we do want to make sure that we are calling out those that we need to call out," she said.
Haley made the remarks while addressing a press conference after assuming the role of President of the Security Council for the month of April.
The Indian-American diplomat was asked about efforts to get terrorists, particularly those in the South Asian region, sanctioned under UN Security Council's sanctions list and how another permanent member scuttles these efforts by using its veto power, a veiled reference to China blocking moves to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar.
"Are we going to have people that veto certain issues? Yes. But that doesn't preclude the US from acting and it certainly does not preclude us from trying to see if we can change that as well," Ms Haley said. "Our goal is to get more done together than we do separately. If we cannot get it done separately then we just move in another direction to still get the same things done," she said.
The US wants to make sure that it is leading towards a "result" and "not sitting back" and allowing things to happen.
"I think you are obviously seeing a very aggressive administration because we feel that in order to lead, we need to act, and in order to act, we need to make sure we have those conversations with the National Security Council; and we are having those conversations with the National Security Council," she said.
Haley noted that a lot has happened in the last two months of her assuming the UN ambassador's role under the Trump administration and a lot will continue to happen "but it is all about how we can make sure we are moving the ball".
She also brought up her Indian heritage when she asked about her qualities of being able to speak freely and openly and whether she was offered the role of Secretary of State by Donald Trump.
"Every position that I have ever had, people have assumed that I'm looking towards something bigger when in reality I'm the daughter of Indian parents who said to me 'whatever you do, be great at it and make sure people remember you for it'. That is all I am trying to do," Haley said.
She went on to say, "That is all I have ever known; how to be is to try and just do my job to the best of my ability and if that comes out blunt and if that comes out strong -- I'm one of two brothers and a sister -- my parents raised us all to be strong," she said.
Haley said the original call she received to go to Trump Tower following Donald Trump's election win last November was to discuss the position of Secretary of State, but she was not offered the post.
"No he (Donald Trump) did not offer it (post of Secretary of State). It was the discussion that we were having at the time. So when we went in, that was the position that we were discussing," she said.
Haley also described Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a "war criminal", saying what he has done to the people of his country is disgusting.
Asked about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's remarks in Ankara where he said that Assad's status would be decided by the Syrian people, she said, "It's that we don't think the people want Assad anymore; we don't think that he is going to be someone that the people want to have."
"We have no love for Assad. We've made that very clear. We think that he has been a hindrance to peace for a long time. He's a war criminal. What he's done to his people is nothing more than disgusting," she said.
Haley said that the goal of the Trump administration is to do what needs to be done to defeat ISIS. "I don't know that our goal is to talk to Assad in doing that...Now that could change and the administration could think otherwise, but right now Assad is not our No.1 person to talk to," she said.
(With PTI inputs)