UN Security Council aims to dry up IS group financing

AFP , Friday 6 Feb 2015

UN Security Council
File Photo: Representatives at the UN Security Council vote in New York (Photo: Reuters)

The UN Security Council plans to adopt a resolution next week aimed at halting funding to Islamic State militants from oil, antique trafficking and ransoms, a diplomat said Friday.

A draft text, drawn up by Russia, was distributed to the 15 member countries ahead of Friday closed-door discussions.

The resolution, completed after dialogue with the United States and Europe, draws largely on previous UN sanctions on organizations and individuals affiliated with al-Qaeda, particularly the freezing of assets and an arms embargo.

The council in August adopted a resolution to cut off sources of financing and the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, warning countries that do trade in oil with the Islamists they could face sanctions.

"These are already pretty robust, binding obligations and our goal was to expand and clarify and drill down what these obligations mean, how they apply in the context of oil smuggling particularly" a US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He added that the text should be adopted next week, but clarified that its enforcement would be difficult due to the multitude of intermediaries who deal with the jihadists.

"We hope these norms and provisions will have a real impact," he said.

One of the resolution's new provisions specifically prohibits the trafficking of art and antiquities from Syria, where IS controls a substantial swath of territory. A similar ban already applies to Iraq.

It also reiterated that member states are obliged to refrain from direct trade of oil with IS.

Meanwhile, it said, oil, agricultural products, looted goods and other resources were being trafficked by jihadists on roads, and recommended that neighboring states work to control traffic, particularly in Turkey, an important transit point for oil deliveries.

A UN report released in November estimated that the militants earned $850,000 to $1.65 million per day selling oil to private intermediaries and recommended that tanker trucks from IS-controlled territories be blocked completely.

However oil revenue has declined significantly following recent air raids by the US-led coalition, as well as lower crude prices.

The Council also reaffirmed that members were not to make ransom payments for kidnapped hostages.

And it expressed "concern at the proliferation of all arms and related materials of all type in particular manportable surface to air missiles" to IS.

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