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Russia seeks UN resolution to prevent terrorist ransom money

February 5, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia is pressing for adoption of a new U.N. resolution aimed at preventing terrorists from collecting ransom payments or money from the illegal sale of oil or antiquities.

Alexey Zaytsev, spokesman for Russia’s U.N. Mission, said Wednesday: “We are preparing it and we hope that it will be adopted in the next few days.”

The Security Council passed a resolution in January 2014 calling on the 193 U.N. member states to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments and a presidential statement in July 2014 reminding all countries that buying illegally obtained oil violates U.N. sanctions.

Diplomats said the Russian draft includes specific measures to squeeze the finances of terrorist groups including the Islamic State from ransom, oil and antiques. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations have been private and did not provide details of the measures.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi, the current council president, said the proposed resolution is currently being discussed with the four other veto-wielding permanent council members — the U.S., China, Britain and France. It must then be given to the 10 elected council members.

“It’s a very important issue,” Liu told AP. “We are working on it. It looks that we may get there.”

In November, a U.N. panel of experts monitoring al-Qaida recommended new sanctions that would authorize the seizure of tanker trucks carrying oil from areas in Syria and Iraq controlled by the Islamic State group or the Nusra Front.

It also recommended that the Security Council order a worldwide moratorium on the trading of antiquities from Syria and Iraq — and order all countries to deny aircraft permission to land or take off if they are coming from or going to territory held by the two terrorist groups.

The experts also said in November that the Islamic State group, which controls a large swath of Syria and Iraq, received between $35 million and $45 million in ransom payments in just the past year — and that kidnapping for ransom continues to grow.

Many governments do pay ransom but the U.S., Britain, Japan and others have refused, often leading to the deaths of their hostages.

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