You are here

UN Security Council aims to dry up IS group financing

[UNITED NATIONS] 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, diplomats said Friday.

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

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

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, anticipating adoption of the resolution on Tuesday, spoke of a "very positive" response to the measure.

Market voices on:

British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said no country had raised opposition to the resolution.

"I don't think this is a fundamental shift but it is an additional legislative act by the council," he said. "It demonstrates our determination to tackle ISIL." 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 they could face sanctions if they trade in oil with the Islamists.

"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 on condition of anonymity.

The official 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 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.

The resolution said oil, agricultural products, looted goods and other resources were being trafficked by jihadists on roads, and recommended that neighbouring 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 US$850,000 to US$1.65 million per day selling oil to private intermediaries. The report 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.