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Trump proposes 'Build America' visa for immigrants

WASHINGTON, May 16: Donald Trump has said he will replace the existing green cards with 'Build America' visa, as the US President unveiled a new merit and points-based immigration policy that seeks to increase the quota for highly-skilled workers from 12 to 57 per cent.

Every year the US issues nearly 1.1 million green cards, which gives foreign nationals life-time permission to live and work in the US and a path to citizenship in five years. Currently most of cards are issued based on family links and diversity visa, and a small section is given to people who are professionals and highly skilled.

Trump said on Thursday he wanted to change that and unveiled a new proposal. "Our proposal fulfils our sacred duty to those living here today, while ensuring America remains a welcoming country to immigrants joining us tomorrow. We want immigrants coming in," Trump said in a major immigration policy address in the Rose Garden of the White House.

"We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country, but a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill," he said.

The White House plan makes no change to the number of green cards allocated each year. "Instead of admitting people through random chance, we will establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States. No matter where in the world you're born, no matter who your relatives are, if you want to become an American citizen, it will be clear exactly what standard we ask you to achieve. It will be made crystal clear," Trump said.

"This will increase the diversity of immigration flows into our country. We will replace the existing green card categories with a new visa, the Build America visa - which is what we all want to hear," Trump said amidst applause from the audience.

Trump said like Canada and many other modern countries, his administration seeks to create an "easy-to-navigate points-based" selection system.

"You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs," he said.

In the absence of such a system, America is losing people who want to start companies, and in many cases, are forced to leave the country and go back to the country where they came from, he said.

"They could've started them (companies) right here in the United States, where they wanted to do it in the first place. Now they'll have a chance," Trump said.

The President said priority will also be given to higher-wage workers to ensure the American labour is never undercut. To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient, he said.

"Finally, to promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission. Through these steps, we will deliver an immigration system that respects, and even strengthens, our culture, our traditions, and our values," Trump said.

According to the president, Americans with criminal records are getting a second chance at life in higher numbers than ever before.

Unfortunately, the current immigration rules allow foreign workers to substitute for Americans seeking entry-level jobs. "So, foreign workers are coming in and they're taking the jobs that would normally go to American workers," Trump said.

"America's immigration system should bring in people who will expand opportunity for striving, low-income Americans, not to compete with those low-income Americans," he said.

As a result of the broken rules, the annual green card flow is mostly low-wage and low-skilled, he rued, adding that the newcomers compete for jobs against the most vulnerable Americans and put pressure on social safety net and generous welfare programmes. "Only 12 per cent of legal immigrants are selected based on skill or based on merit.

In countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that number is closer to 60 and even 70 and 75 per cent, in some cases," he said.

The biggest change his administration will make is to increase the proportion of highly-skilled immigration from 12 per cent to 57 per cent, Trump said. "We'd like to even see if we can go higher. This will bring us in line with other countries and make us globally competitive," he said.

At the same time, the current system prioritise the immediate family of new Americans - spouses and children, he said.

"The loved ones you choose to build a life with, we prioritise. And we have to do that. They go right to the front of the line. Right to the front of the line, where they should be," Trump said.

Trump declares national emergency over threats against US telecom

WASHINGTON, May 16: President Donald Trump issued an executive order Wednesday apparently aimed at banning equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from U.S. networks.

It declared a national economic emergency that empowers the government to ban the technology and services of "foreign adversaries" deemed to pose "unacceptable risks" to national security — including from cyber espionage and sabotage. While the order did not name specific countries or companies, it followed months of U.S. pressure. It has given the Department of Commerce 150 days to come up with regulations.

In a clear slap at Huawei, the department also put the company and its affiliates on a list that requires them to obtain U.S. government approval to purchase American technology.

Washington and Beijing are locked in a trade war that partly reflects a struggle for global economic and technological dominance, and Wednesday's actions up the ante.

The executive order addresses U.S. government concerns that equipment from Chinese suppliers could pose an espionage threat to U.S. internet and telecommunications infrastructure. Huawei, the world's biggest supplier of network gear, has been deemed a danger in U.S. national security circles for the better part of a decade.

U.S. justice and intelligence officials say Chinese economic espionage and trade secret theft are rampant.

U.S. officials have presented no evidence, however, of any Huawei equipment in the U.S. or elsewhere being compromised by backdoors installed by the manufacturer to facilitate espionage by Beijing. Huawei vehemently denies involvement in Chinese spying.

A senior U.S. administration official, who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter and who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters in a hastily arranged call that the order was "company and country agnostic" and that it would not be retroactive. Officials said "interim regulations" were expected before final rules were set but were vague on what that meant.

In a statement, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai called the executive order "a significant step toward securing America's networks."

"It signals to U.S. friends and allies how far Washington is willing to go to block Huawei," said Adam Segal, cybersecurity director at the Council on Foreign Relations. Many in Europe have resisted a fierce U.S. diplomatic campaign to institute a wholesale ban on the Chinese company's equipment in their next-generation 5G wireless networks.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a former telecoms executive, called the order "a needed step" in a statement endorsing the State Department's contention that Chinese law compels Huawei to act as an agent of the state. He cautioned, however, that its implementation not "harm or stifle" legitimate business.

The order's existence in draft form was first reported by The Washington Post last June. Segal said that with U.S.-China trade talks at a standstill, the White House "felt the time had finally come to pull the trigger."

It is a "low-cost signal of resolve from the Trump administration," Segal said, noting that there is little at stake economically.

All major U.S. wireless carriers and internet providers had already sworn off Chinese-made equipment after a 2012 report by the House Intelligence Committee said Huawei and ZTE, China's No. 2 telecoms equipment company, should be excluded as enablers of Beijing-directed espionage. Last year, Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. government and its contractors from using equipment from the Chinese suppliers.

The FCC also has a rule in the works that would cut off subsidies for companies that use any equipment banned as posing a national security threat. Huawei's handsets are virtually nonexistent in the U.S., and last week the FCC rejected a Chinese phone company's bid to provide domestic service .

Only about 2 percent of telecom equipment purchased by North American carriers was Huawei-made in 2017. The domestic economic impact will be restricted mostly to small rural carriers for whom Huawei equipment has been attractive because of its lower costs. That could make it more difficult to expand access to speedy internet in rural areas.

Blair Levin, an adviser to research firm New Street Research and a former FCC official, said the order is likely to widen the digital divide.

Roger Entner, founder of telecom research firm Recon Analytics, tweeted: "Banning Huawei in the U.S. has the FCC in a conundrum: Low cost Huawei equipment helps to build out broadband in rural America faster." He wondered if the FCC would subsidize small rural carriers.

Requests for comment from Huawei and a group representing small carriers, the Competitive Carriers Association, were not immediately returned. Administration officials told reporters they will welcome comments from the telecommunications industry as regulations are set.

They did not say whether subsidies would be considered.

General counsel Carri Bennet of the Rural Wireless Association has said a ban would cost its 15 affected members at least $800 million to redo their networks to strip out Huawei and ZTE equipment. That doesn't include the extra cost of next-generation equipment and upgrades from more expensive Western suppliers.

The association has about 60 members, none with more than 100,000 customers, though many are crucial partners for the nation's four major operators, providing coverage in remote locations through roaming agreements.

Early this year, the Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against Huawei, a top company executive and several subsidiaries, alleging the company stole trade secrets, misled banks about its business and violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The sweeping indictments accused the company of using extreme efforts to steal trade secrets from American businesses — including trying to take a piece of a robot from a T-Mobile lab.

The executive charged is Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company's founder. She was arrested in Canada last December. The U.S. is seeking to extradite her.

Trade deal now or it will be far worse after 2020: Trump to China

WASHINGTON, May 12: US President Donald Trump warned China on Saturday that it should strike a trade deal with the United States now, otherwise an agreement would be “far worse for them if it has to be negotiated in my second term”. Washington and Beijing are locked in a trade battle that has seen mounting tariffs, sparking fears the dispute will damage the global economy.

Two days of talks ended Friday with no deal. China’s top negotiator said the two sides would meet again in Beijing at an unspecified date, but warned that China would make no concessions on “important principles.”

“I think that China felt they were being beaten so badly in the recent negotiation that they may as well wait around for the next election, 2020, to see if they could get lucky & have a Democrat win -- in which case they would continue to rip-off the USA for $500 Billion a year,” Trump said in a tweet Saturday.

“The only problem is that they know I am going to win (best economy & employment numbers in U.S. history, & much more), and the deal will become far worse for them if it has to be negotiated in my second term. Would be wise for them to act now, but love collecting BIG TARIFFS!” Trump had accused Beijing of reneging on its commitments in trade talks and ordered new punitive duties, which took effect Friday, on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, raising them to 25 percent from 10 percent.

He then cranked up the heat further, ordering a tariff hike on almost all remaining imports -- $300 billion worth, according to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer -- from the world’s second-biggest economy.

Those tariffs would not take effect for months, after a period of public comment.

Trump also said Saturday that firms could easily avoid additional costs by producing goods in the United States.

“Such an easy way to avoid Tariffs? Make or produce your goods and products in the good old USA. It’s very simple!” he tweeted, echoing a similar message he sent Friday -- and even retweeted.

Only a week earlier, the United States and China had seemed poised to complete a sweeping agreement.

Washington wants Beijing to tighten its intellectual property protections, cut its subsidies to state-owned firms and reduce the yawning trade deficit; China wants an end to tariffs as part of a “balanced” deal.

While supporters laud Trump as a tough negotiator, free-trade-minded Republicans have warned that the tariffs could do real damage to the economy, and many farmers -- including Trump supporters -- say the tariffs have hit their bottom line.

As the trade war spread, China imposed $110 billion in duties on farm exports and other US goods.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, from the farm state of Iowa, cautiously welcomed the new tariffs but urged negotiators to reach a quick solution “so we can avoid prolonged tariffs, which we know have an impact on the US economy.”

North Korea’s missile tests not breach of trust: Trump

WASHINGTON, May 11: US President Donald Trump said Friday that North Korea’s recent missile tests were not a “breach of trust.”

“They’re short-range and I don’t consider that a breach of trust at all. And, you know, at some point I may. But at this point no,” he said in an interview with Politico.

“These were short-range missiles and very standard stuff. Very standard.”

Pyongyang fired two short-range missiles Thursday following an earlier drill on Saturday. The North had not launched any since November 2017, shortly before leader Kim Jong Un embarked on diplomatic overtures.

Trump, who has said that he and Kim have a good relationship, added that he might eventually lose faith in the North Korean leader.

“I mean it’s possible that at some point I will, but right now not at all,” he said.

Kim declared an end to the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles during a rapid rapprochement last year, paving the way for his first summit with Trump in Singapore in June.

But a second summit between the two mercurial leaders in Hanoi in February broke up without a deal after they failed to agree on what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.

Since then Kim has accused Washington of acting in “bad faith”, and given it until the end of the year to change its approach.

US offers to sell THAAD defence system to India as alternative to Russian S-400s

WASHINGTON, May 12: The United States has offered Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot Advance Capability (PAC-3) missile defence systems to India in as an alternative to Russian S-400s, a competing equipment that India has said it is close to acquiring after years of negotiations.

The Trump administration is understood to have made the offer some weeks ago as it simultaneously extended and reeled back assurances that India’s purchase of the Russian system could not, or could, attract sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for its 2016 election meddling under Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

US officials are believed to have indeed conveyed US willingness to waive these sanctions for S-400s during the inaugural 2+2 meeting in New Delhi last September between defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and their US counterparts. But there appears to have been some walking back in recent weeks, coinciding with Trump administration’s efforts to prevent Turkey, a NATO ally, from going ahead with its own plans to buy S-400s. Saudi Arabia, another US ally, is next.

The exact cost of a THAAD defence system could not be ascertained, but according to a CNBC report, each unit can cost an estimated $3 billion. Saudi Arabia signed a deal with the US in November to buy 44 THAAD launchers and missiles - each battery comes with six launchers - for $15 billion. In comparison, India is reported to be paying $5.4 billion for five S-400s, each of which consists eight launchers.

The exact date of the offer of THAAD and the PAC-3 systems to India could not be ascertained, but the offer was confirmed by multiple government agencies and people close to these discussions.

“As a matter of policy, we do not publicly comment on or confirm proposed defense sales or transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress,” said a US State Department spokesperson in response to a request to confirm or deny if a formal offer had indeed been made. It was not denied, as is clear. The State Department is the clearing house for government-to-government transfer of US defence equipment to foreign countries, through the system of Foreign Military Sales.

Though India has felt confident of getting a CAATSA waiver, as was recently reiterated by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Indian officials have also sensed a walking-back on it in recent months, drawing upon, in main parts, on US insistence in public remarks that the waiver authority written into law by the Congress in 2018 only empowered the president to grant waivers and it did not offer country-specific guarantees.

James Mattis, former defense secretary, had mentioned India and Vietnam in his testimony at a Congressional hearing in which he had urged lawmakers to grant exemption powers ti the government, arguing it was needed to slowly wean long-time clients of Russian arms and weapons.

Comparisons between THAAD and PAC-3 missile defence systems with S-400s are typically slanted in favour of those behind the analysis. But the United States is pitching them as part of a larger plan of enhanced defence and security cooperation with India. As India cuts its dependence on Russian equipment — from 78% over 2009-13 to 58% over 2014-18, according to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) — and switches to America, arms purchases from the United States have gone from zero some years ago to $18 billion. THAAD and PAC-3 will fit in better with other American equipment.

Turkey’s planned purchase of S-400s and America’s opposition to it on grounds the acquisition could expose American defence systems to the Russians is cited often by American officials as central to the Trump administration’s position on allies, friends and partners opting for the Russian system. The United States has threatened to not sell Turkey F-35s, the next generation fighter jets, if it acquired the S-400s.

In relief for India, US could delay action on oil, trade sanctions till June

NEW DELHI, May 8: India and the US won’t immediately escalate vexed trade-related issues and are expected to hold their position on all important matters till a new government is formed in New Delhi by the month-end, officials with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross too hinted the two sides will maintain their positions in his speech at the Trade Winds business forum, while raising the issue of trade imbalance with India.

“We applaud India’s commitment to addressing some of these barriers once the government is reformed, probably starting in the month of June,” he said.

Election-bound India is expected to form a new government before the tenure of the current Lok Sabha ends on June 3.

India’s main concerns include the US decision to enforce sanctions on oil imports from Iran, one of the country’s main energy suppliers, and the withdrawal of benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme.

Washington is concerned by the trade imbalance because of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and regulations that US officials say put foreign companies at a disadvantage.

According to the officials cited above, India has explained to the US that strategic matters, including trade-related issues, can be effectively dealt with after the new government is formed.

They added the US has hinted it might make a final decision on withdrawing incentives under GSP after the new government is formed.

The two sides are also locked in disputes over Indian price caps on imported US medical devices, and e-commerce rules barring companies from selling products through firms in which they have an equity interest.

Ross contended India’s push to get foreign firms to store more of their user data locally is a hindrance to trade, and said India’s treatment of Walmart after its acquisition of Flipkart was an “important issue”.

“So the American companies are showing very good will and a very cooperative attitude towards ‘Make in India’ and the other programmes,” said Ross. “But there’s a limit to how far the discriminatory behaviour can go.”

Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu said he had “an excellent” meeting with Ross on Monday, during which they discussed “how to take this relationship to the next level”.

Prabhu expanded US President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America great again” to “Let’s make America great again by making India-US relationship far better again”. Ross rephrased it to “MAGAWIC”, or “Make America great again with Indian cooperation”.

Ross told the business forum US technologies and expertise can play a key role in developing India’s economy but faced “significant market access barriers”. Noting that India is the third largest economy and would become the largest consumer market by 2030, he added: “Yet today, India is only the US’ 13th largest export market due to overly restrictive market access barriers.”

On the other hand, the US is India’s largest export market, accounting for about 20% of the total. “That’s a real imbalance, and it’s an imbalance we must drive to counter,” he said.

He contended India’s average applied tariff rate of 13.8% is the highest of any major world economy and its “bound tariff rates”, or the highest rate that can be charged, on agricultural products ranged from 113.5% to 300%.

Ross referred to Trump’s vision of a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific and said India is key to the US administration’s approach to the region.

India, US agree to save Afghan gains in 18 years

NEW DELHI, May 7: The US on Tuesday agreed with India that the gains made in Afghanistan over the past 18 years must be preserved in any possible deal in talks with the Taliban – a key concern for the government in New Delhi.

The matter figured in meetings between the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, and his Indian interlocutors, including external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and India’s envoy to Kabul, Vinay Kumar.

Khalilzad, who held talks with the Taliban at Doha in Qatar before travelling to New Delhi, held “consultations with Indian government officials and other stakeholders on the Afghan peace process”, according to a statement from the US embassy here.

Besides preserving the gains made since the Taliban regime was removed after the 9/11 terror attacks in the US in 2001, measures to prevent the use of Afghanistan by terror groups as a “platform for attacks” also figured in the talks. Khalilzad and his counterparts “agreed that Afghan gains of the last 18 years must be preserved and built upon”, the statement said. “Afghanistan’s political future is for Afghans to decide through an inclusive and legitimate process,” it added.

The two sides discussed the “many important benefits that peace would bring, including: preventing international terrorist use of Afghanistan as a platform for attacks; improved prospects for regional peace and security; and increased regional connectivity and trade”.

The statement said Khalilzad will continue to consult with Indian counterparts as the peace process moves forward. He welcomed support for the peace process that “strengthens an emerging international consensus for peace efforts”. He also recognized the “many important contributions India has made to Afghanistan’s development”.

India, which has given $3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan, has been keeping a wary eye on the talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban, who have given no signs of agreeing to a ceasefire or participating in an intra-Afghan dialogue with government and civil society representatives.

US to propose hike in H-1B application fee: Labour Secretary

WASHINGON, May 7: The Trump administration is proposing a hike in the H-1B visa application fee to increase funding for the expansion of an apprentice programme, which trains American youths in technology related activities, Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta told US lawmakers.

Testifying before a Congressional committee on annual budget of the Department of Labour for the fiscal year 2020 beginning October 1, 2019, Acosta, however, did not give details of the proposed increase in H-1B filing fee and as to which categories of applicants it would be enforced on.

But given past experience, the Indian IT companies, which account for a large number of H-1B applications, are likely to face the additional financial burden because of this proposed increase in H-1B filing fees.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China .

Arguing that foreigners hurt American workers by competing for jobs and driving down wages, the Trump administration has tighten the noose around the H-1B visa programme. The Seattle Times on Monday reported that last year immigration officials denied nearly one out of every four requests for new visas for skilled foreign workers.

“In FY 2020, the Department’s budget includes USD 160 million to continue our expansion of apprenticeship programmes, along with a proposal to increase H-1B fee revenues to fund additional apprenticeship activities,” Acosta said in his testimony on May 2 before the Senate Appropriations Committee — Subcommittee on Labour, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

Acosta told lawmakers that last year the Department of Labour had launched the first-ever sector-based apprenticeship grant funding opportunity to invest USD 150 million to expand apprenticeships in those in-demand industry sectors most often filled by individuals on H-1B visas, such as information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing.

This grant funding opportunity introduced an innovative approach: a 35 percent private-sector match requirement. This brings the total investment to USD 202.5 million, USD 57.7 million coming from the private sector, he said.

“As a result of this private sector match requirement, educators have a greater incentive to join with industry to ensure curricula address the needs of our ever-changing workplace, investing in the latest technologies and techniques, and providing more in-demand opportunities for Americans,” Acosta said.

On July 18 last year, the Department of Labour had announced USD 150 million in H-1B funds to support sector-based approaches to expanding apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors.

The focus is on industries reliant on H-1B visas. It aims at expanding apprenticeships and increase the level of apprenticeship activity among a range of new employers within these industries, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses.

Acosta also told lawmakers that the Labour Department has also made changes to the H-1B application forms to ensure greater transparency and better protect American workers from employers seeking to misuse the programme.

In fiscal 2018, the Department concluded 649 non-immigrant visa programme cases and found violations in 553 of those cases.

In a news story, Breitbart News said that every year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the US on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. There are about 650,000 H-1B visa foreign workers in the US at any given moment, it added.

“Let’s put our citizens first and protect US workers and wages. Hard-working and highly-skilled American men and women share their stories about H-1B visa fraud and abuse,” Congressman Paul Gosar said.

Victory for American diplomacy: Mike Pompeo on terror tag for Masood Azhar

WASHINGTON, May 2: The designation of Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN demonstrates the international commitment to rooting out terrorism in Pakistan and bringing security and stability to south Asia, the White House has said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also welcomed the move and said that it is a victory for the American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism.

Pompeo also congratulated the US mission in the UN which took the lead in America’s diplomatic effort to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, after China finally lifted its nearly 10-year technical hold on such an effort by India, the United States and other permanent members of the Security Council including Britain and France.

“Congrats to our team @USUN for their work in negotiating JEM’s Masood Azhar’s #UN designation as a terrorist,” Pompeo tweeted.

“This long-awaited action is a victory for American diplomacy and the international community against terrorism, and an important step towards peace in South Asia,” Pompeo said.

The UN sanctions committee on the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda on Wednesday announced the designation of Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), over its ties to Al-Qaeda.

The JeM has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers and led to a spike in military tensions between India and Pakistan.

Reacting to the development, Garrett Marquis, spokesperson of the National Security Council, White House said: “Designating Azhar demonstrates international commitment to rooting out terrorism in Pakistan and bringing security and stability to south Asia”.

The US commends the United Nations Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee for the designation of Azhar, the leader of JeM, a UN-designated terrorist group that was responsible for the February 14 terrorist attack in Kashmir that killed over 40 Indian security personnel, Marquis said in a statement.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that the JeM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a serious threat to regional stability and peace in South Asia.

“The JeM was designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2001 and has been listed by the UN since 2001,” she said.

“As JEM’s founder and leader, Azhar clearly met the criteria for designation by the UN. This listing requires all the UN member states to implement an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against Azhar. We expect all countries to uphold these obligations,” Ortagus said.

Today’s designation is an important step in promoting a peaceful and stable South Asia, she said.

“In line with this vision, we appreciate Pakistani Prime Minister Khan’s stated commitment that Pakistan, for the sake of its own future, will not allow militant and terrorist groups to operate from its territory,” Ortagus said.

The spokesperson said that the US looks forward to further and sustained actions from Pakistan as outlined in its National Action Plan consistent with its international obligations.

The US, France along with the UK had moved the proposal to designate Azhar as a “global terrorist” in the UN Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee in February, just days after the deadly Pulwama terror attack.

A veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, China was the sole hold-out in the 15-nation body on the bid to blacklist Azhar, blocking attempts by placing a “technical hold” and asking for “more time to examine” the proposal.

 

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