Thursday, 12 February 2015

Security Council votes to freeze financial assets of ISIL

 The sources of funding of terrorist groups affiliated to al-Qaeda, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL have been targeted by a UN Security Council resolution UNSCR2199 :
A draft of the resolution was circulated by Russia late last week, an initiative which was reportedly welcomed by all members of the Security Council. The document recognises the importance of the role that financial sanctions play in disrupting terrorist groups. It calls to freeze without delay funds and other financial assets or economic resources from which ISIL, al-Nusra Front, and other al-Qaeda affiliates could benefit. The British Ambassador to the UN, Lyall Grant said there is what he called a "disturbing body of evidence" that groups such as ISIL are generating significant income from illegal sales. He gave details on the terms of the resolution. “It primarily focuses on oil sales, but also covers other sources of ISIL income from kidnapping for ransom, the illicit trade in antiquities, natural resources, and financial transfers.” The resolution also creates some new reporting requirements by calling on governments to report within 120 days on measures undertaken to block funds from getting into the hands of terrorist groups.   
"The swift agreement of this resolution shows the strong and continuing unity of the Council on countering terrorism" (Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the UK Mission to the United Nations, at the Security Council Meeting on ISIL’s financing).
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday banned all trade in antiquities from war-torn Syria, threatened sanctions on anyone buying oil from Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front militants and urged states to stop kidnap ransom payments. The 15-nation council unanimously adopted a Russian-drafted resolution, which is legally binding and gives the council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions. [...] The resolution on Thursday banned trade in Syria antiquities and reaffirmed a ban on Iraqi artifact sales from about a decade ago. It expressed concern that Islamic State and others "are generating income from engaging directly or indirectly in the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage items ... to support their recruitment efforts and strengthen their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks." According to a U.N. report in November, it was very difficult to estimate how much money Islamic State was generating from the looting and trade in Syrian and Iraqi antiquities.
Michelle Nichols, 'U.N. Security Council ups pressure on Islamic State financing', Reuters  Thu Feb 12, 2015.

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