File Photo: U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Michele Sison arrives for the Security Council meeting of the United Nations, Feb. 2, 2017 (Photo: AP)
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to impose sanctions against eight individuals and businesses linked to the Islamic State extremist group and al-Qaida in a wide-ranging resolution aimed at stepping up international efforts "to counter terrorism and terrorist financing."
The eight additions to the U.N. sanctions blacklist include IS leaders in Southeast Asia, IS-affiliated extremist groups in Syria, foreign fighters from the Caucuses and an illicit money exchange business.
U.S. deputy ambassador Michele Sison called the resolution adopted Thursday "another important step" to defeat Islamic State and al-Qaida extremists and their affiliates, stressing that "for the United States, there is no higher priority."
But even as the Islamic State group is losing ground in Syria and Iraq, she said, "the threat is far from over" and the extremist group "will continue looking to spread its ideology and radicalize new groups around the world."
The U.S.-drafted resolution urges greater international cooperation to cut off funding to extremist groups, prevent them from acquiring weapons, and step up cooperation to address the issues of fighters for IS and al-Qaida returning home.
The resolution does not include nationalities of the individuals on the blacklist.
The U.S. Mission identified the Southeast Asians as Syrian-based Muhammad Bahrum Naim Anggih Tamtomo who has also operated in Indonesia and reportedly organized attacks in Jakarta on Jan. 14, 2016, and Omar Rochman, who operates in Indonesia.
The two fighters from the Caucuses are Malik Ruslanovich Barkhanoev, who according to the U.S. Mission operates in Turkey, Syria and the north Caucuses area of Russia, and Murad Iraklievich Margoshvili who operates in the Russian region of Ingushetia and Syria.
Two extremist groups operating in Syria were also put on the blacklist: Jund al Aqsa, which the mission said is associated with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, and Jaysh Khalid Ibn al Waleed, which it says is associated with IS.
Also sanctioned were the Hanifa Money Exchange Office branch located in Albu Kamal, Syria and Selselat al-Thabab, a money exchange business that the U.S. Mission says has moved money on behalf of the Islamic State group.
"There will be more designations to come," Sison said.
The resolution extends the mandate of the New York-based team monitoring implementation of sanctions against IS and al-Qaida for an additional two years after its current mandate expires in December 2019.
Sison stressed that implementing sanctions is just one part of a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, "and the violent extremist ideology that feeds it."
"All member states of the United Nations must work together to prevent groups from declaring allegiance to ISIS and becoming one of its affiliates," she said. "We must mobilize action to address ex-ISIS fighters who return or relocate to other countries — We can't allow them to become a new threat elsewhere."
Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said the action was "a very important step to strengthen the counter-terrorism regime, and now all member states without any exception have to implement the decision of the Security Council."
But Safronkov said Russia is "deeply upset" that some Security Council members did not accept Russia's proposal to impose a complete ban on all trade and economic ties with all areas under IS control. He said Russia will keep pushing to have this ban adopted.