UN Counter-Terrorism Meeting: From 26/11 site, India and US search list of terrorists, say not to politicize China

With China blocking the list of five Pakistan-based terrorists in recent weeks, Secretary of State S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the issue of listing planners for the 26 Mumbai terror attack. /11 as global terrorists at a UN counter-terrorism conference in Mumbai Friday.

Representatives from all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) attended the conference at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, one of the sites of the 2008 terror attack.

Chinese Yan Hua Wang, a vice consul-general of the consulate-general of China in Mumbai, who was also in the room, asked the countries to “avoid mutual accusations and politicization of technical issues”.

At the UN Committee on Counter-Terrorism Special Meeting on Countering the Use of New and Emerging Technologies for Terrorist Purposes, to be held Friday and Saturday in Mumbai and New Delhi, Indian officials discussed the conspiracy and the 26/11 attack.

In a presentation watched by the current 15 UNSC members and 5 incoming members, senior Interior Ministry officials played the audio clip of Sajid Mir, one of the attack planners. The audio clip shows him directing terrorists to shoot at Nariman House.

The listing of Sajid Mir as a global terrorist, an initiative of India and the US, was blocked by China at the UN in September this year.

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The Chinese wall

India has urged the UN Security Council to consider the signals sent every time an attempt to list a terrorist is blocked. China is blocking the actions of the US and India on the list of Pakistan-based terrorists – Sajid Mir, Abdul Rauf Azhar, Abdul Rehman Makki are the more recent cases.

Photos of all the main suspects of various terror attacks against India, including Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were shown on screen to all members present. The delegates sat at a replica of the iconic horseshoe table in the UNSC room in New York.

Speaking about the Nariman House incident that targeted Israelis, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy said: “We have all seen and heard what happened at Nariman House and we know all too well how radical thoughts lead to radical practices.”

Several survivors of the Mumbai terror attacks, including Vaishali Ombale (wife of murdered police officer Tukaram Ombale), Moshe Holtzberg (the Israeli boy whose parents were murdered), Devika (who was a 10-year-old girl at the time), and Taj hotel worker Karambir Kang, also spoke on the occasion. Nidhi Chapekar, a survivor of the 2016 Brussels airport terrorist attack, also spoke.

Jaishankar said: “In a month’s time we will celebrate the 14th anniversary of these horrific attacks on Mumbai in November 2008. The 26/11 attacks remain protected and unpunished. When it comes to warding off some of these terrorists, the Security Council has unfortunately some cases cannot occur due to political considerations, which undermines our collective credibility and our collective interests.”

“We must ensure the effective and transparent functioning of the Security Council sanctions regime and ensure that they do not become ineffective for political reasons. Objective and fact-based proposals for listing terrorist groups, especially those limiting their access to financial resources, need to be seen through,” he said.

Blinken said in a video statement: “Our accountability efforts are more effective when we act together. That is why we have been working with India to put forward nominations to designate various terrorists through the UN 1267 Committee. All relevant parties should support these designations. No nation can stand in their way.”

This was an oblique reference to China’s opposition to terrorist listing.

The United States Secretary of State also said: “… as we reflect on the immeasurable loss of 26/11, let it be a reminder to all of us of our unfinished work and holding the perpetrators to account… and the avert future terrorist attacks on any of our people, anywhere.”

“But we have to do more than mourn. We have a responsibility to the victims and people everywhere to bring justice to the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, including their masterminds. That is why the United States has been working with India and other partners for 14 years. Because if we allow the architects of these attacks to go unpunished, we will be sending messages to terrorists everywhere that their heinous crimes will be tolerated,” Blinken said.

Jaishankar said: “We all know that money is the lifeblood of terrorism. Terrorist organizations need money and resources to maintain their organizational functions and carry out activities. The reality that terrorism persists and continues to spread points to an underlying truth: that terrorism continues to receive the financial resources it needs to thrive.”

In this regard, he suggested five points for consideration by the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee:

“Effective and sustained efforts to counter terrorist financing are at the heart of the fight against terrorism. Normative efforts at the UN should be coordinated through collaboration with other fora such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Egmont Group.” “We must ensure the effective and transparent functioning of the Security Council sanctions regime and ensure that they do not become ineffective for political reasons.” “International cooperation and concerted action against terrorists and their sponsors, including through the dismantling of terrorist safe havens, sanctuaries, training grounds and financial, ideological and political support structures, are critical to defeating this scourge.” “The link between terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs and arms trafficking is now well established.” “Over the years, terrorist groups have diversified their financing portfolios. They have also begun to take advantage of the anonymity afforded by new and emerging technologies such as virtual currencies for fundraising and finance.”

“In this regard, we look forward to the deliberations at the committee’s special meeting tomorrow in New Delhi to provide innovative solutions for the international community to consider,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “We are here because we know that counter-terrorism cooperation must continue to adapt and evolve to deal with the new threats and emerging technologies. We must do everything we can to prevent attacks like the one that happened here in Mumbai from ever happening again.”

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