Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

UN slaps sanctions on 8 linked to ISIL and Al Qaeda

The eight additions to the UN sanctions blacklist include ISIL leaders in Southeast Asia, ISIL affiliates in Syria, foreign fighters from the Caucasus and an illicit money exchange business.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to impose sanctions against eight individuals and businesses linked to ISIL and Al Qaeda in a wide-ranging resolution aimed at stepping up international efforts "to counter terrorism and terrorist financing."

The eight additions to the UN sanctions blacklist include ISIL leaders in Southeast Asia, ISIL-affiliated extremist groups in Syria, foreign fighters from the Caucasus and an illicit money exchange business.

US deputy ambassador Michele Sison called the resolution "another important step" in defeating extremist groups and their affiliates. "For the United States, there is no higher priority," she said.

But even as ISIL is losing ground in Syria and Iraq, she said the threat was far from ove, and ISIL would continue to spread its ideology and radicalize new groups around the world.

The US-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 ISIL and Al Qaeda fighters returning home.

"There will be more designations to come," Ms Sison said.

The resolution does not include the nationalities of the individuals on the blacklist.

The US mission identified the two Southeast Asians as Muhammad Bahrum Naim Anggih Tamtomo and Omar Rochman, and the two from the Caucuses as Malik Ruslanovich Barkhanoev and Murad Iraklievich Margoshvili.

The others on the list are Selselat Al Thabab, Jaysh Khalid Ibn Al Waleed, Jund Al Aqsa and the Hanifa Money Exchange Office branch located in Albu Kamal, Syria.

The resolution extends the mandate of a New York-based monitoring team for an additional two years after its current mandate expires in December 2019.

Ms Sison stressed that implementing sanctions is just one part of a broader strategy to defeat ISIL "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 ISIL and becoming one of its affiliates," she said. "We must mobilize action to address ex-ISIL fighters who return or relocate to other countries — We can't allow them to become a new threat elsewhere."

Russia's deputy UN 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 Mr Safronkov said Russia is "deeply upset" that some Security Council members had not accepted Russia's proposal to impose a complete ban on all trade and economic ties with all areas under ISIL control. He said Russia will keep pushing to have this ban adopted.