UNSC reaffirms ways to choke IS funding

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United Nations, Feb 13: The UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday reaffirmed ways to choke the supply of funds for terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), and called for stopping their illegal earnings from oil trade, trafficking of antiquities and ransom payments.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member UN body reaffirmed that all nations "shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts", according to a Xinhua report.

ISIS

The UNSC warned that any oil trade with the IS, ANF or any groups associated with the Al Qaeda would constitute support for these groups and could be sanctioned.

Under the resolution, all 193 UN member countries have been asked to freeze funds, financial assets and economic resources of the IS, ANF and related groups.

While condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria by these extremist groups, the UNSC expressed concern that these groups "are generating income from engaging directly or indirectly in the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage items from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites in Iraq and Syria." The UNSC urged all countries to take measures to prevent such illegal activities.

It also called on governments to "prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or political concessions" for the release of hostages.

The resolution also urged governments to take steps to ensure that financial institutions within their territory prevent extremist groups from accessing the international financial system.

The UNSC reaffirmed measures on weapon embargo and asset freeze. It demanded that all nations should report within 120 days, on the measures they were taking to cut off the financial resources of these extremist groups.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon, said that the fight against the IS, ANF and Al Qaeda "goes much beyond the direct military intervention" and welcomed the resolution.

On the issue of trade in illegal artifacts, Dujarric said that "not only is it a source of illegal revenue for these groups that enables them to continue to operate, but by robbing the past of a country you rob its future".

Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Iraqi permanent representative to the UN, told reporters that there were some dealers in eastern Europe who were buying these antiquities.

In August 2014, the UNSC adopted a similar resolution, but without much detail, to choke the supply of financial resources to the IS and ANF and stop the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria.

A UN committee report on the IS and ANF in November 2014 noted that the IS was "a self-sufficient organisation with diversified funding streams". It pointed out that its financial resources included the sale of crude oil, kidnapping for ransom, extortion and external donations.

IANS

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