UN resolution to curb Islamic State finances

In an important global step to contain the Islamic State, finance ministers from the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a wide-ranging resolution aimed at revenue flows of the brutal terrorist outfit.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew led the council’s first-ever meeting of finance ministers, giving diplomatic thrust to end the war in Syria, where IS jihadists control a large portion of territory and have installed their de facto capital. The resolution asks governments to ensure they have adopted laws that make the financing of IS and of foreign fighters who join its ranks a serious criminal offence.
Drafted by the US and Russia which is an ally of Syria, the new step updates a previous resolution that was set up to blacklist Al-Qaeda, that will now be renamed the “ISIL (Daesh) and Al-Qaeda sanctions list” to signal the UN’s stronger focus on the IS extremists.

The resolution urges countries to move vigorously and decisively to cut the flow of funds, and other financial assets and economic resources such as oil and antiquities to IS. It also asks countries to more actively submit names to the sanctions list.
Russia had drafted a resolution on cutting off the extremists’ revenue streams, which was adopted in February, but countries have been slow to take action to choke off funding channels. “While we are making progress to financially isolate ISIL, if we are to succeed we all must intensify our efforts, on our own and together at the international level,” Mr Lew said.

As per the latest resolution, it would require all countries to report within 120 days on steps taken to target IS financing. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be asked to prepare a report in 45 days on the IS threat and its revenue streams, focusing also on funding for foreign fighters.

According to the London-based analysis firm, the Islamic State group is able to generate $ 80 million per month, but Russian and US coalition air strikes on oil facilities have burdened the finances of IS.  Nearly 50 percent of revenues of the IS come from extortion and looted property, 43 percent from oil sales and the remaining from drug smuggling, electricity sales and donations, according to the firm.

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