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France freezes assets of JeM chief Masood Azhar; to take up his listing with EU

France said it will also ask the European Union to include Azhar in the list of persons involved in terror attacks.

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Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar
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France has announced that it has frozen the assets of Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group behind the Pulwama terror attack that killed more than 40 CRPF personnel on last month.

A joint statement by French foreign ministry, Economy Ministry and the Interior Ministry said, "France 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, and Economy and Finance was published today in the Official Gazette."

France said it will also ask the European Union to include Azhar in the list of persons involved in terror attacks.

The statement 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."

It said that France has "always been and always will be by India’s side" in the fight against terrorism.

The development comes even as China on Wednesday blocked the listing of Masood Azhar as an international terrorist under the United Nations Security Council's 1267 committee. This is the 4th time China has blocked the listing of Azhar under the UN terror list.

France has come as one of the major supports of India and backed New Delhi's counter-terror operations against JeM camps in Pakistan saying, it "recognises India’s legitimacy to ensure its security against cross-border terrorism" and asked, "Pakistan to put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory."

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