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svgadminsvgFebruary 4, 2015svgNews

Russia Pushes UN to Cut Off Islamic State Funds

Russia is making a push at the United Nations for a new resolution to choke off funding from oil sales, the antiquities trade and ransom payments to the Islamic State group, diplomats told AFP Wednesday.

The resolution could come before the Security Council this week and follows strong condemnation by the 15-member council of the gruesome murder of a Jordanian pilot by ISIS terrorists.

“We are preparing it and we hope it’ll be adopted by the UN Security Council in the coming days,” said spokesman Alexey Zaytsev of the Russian mission to the United Nations.

A report by the United Nation’s Al-Qaeda monitoring team recommended in November that the council take aim at oil revenues by seizing all oil tanker trucks leaving Islamist-controlled territory.

The report said jihadists earn an estimated $850,000 to $1.65 million per day from oil sales through private middlemen who operate a fleet of trucks through smuggling routes. ISIS is estimated to own 60% of the oil refineries in Syria alone, and was named the richest terror group worldwide by Forbes

Oil revenues are believed to have decreased recently, however, as a result of ISIS losses.

“We know that there is a market for this oil, and that is an aspect which hopefully this will tighten up on,” a Security Council diplomat said.

The diplomat described the Russian move as a “substantive resolution” that would bolster previous moves at the United Nations to put the squeeze on ISIS sources of financing.

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 that do trade in oil with the Islamists they could face sanctions.

The Russian measure could put added pressure on Turkey, seen as a major transit point for the oil deliveries, with trucks often returning to Iraq or Syria with refined products.

UN experts have also raised alarm over the plundering of artifacts from archeological sites and have proposed a worldwide ban on the trading of antiquities from Syria and Iraq.

Details of the Russian measure were still under discussion including language on ransom payments which council members have officially said they do not make to the jihadists to free hostages.

In practice however, some European countries have found ways to circumvent the ban to secure the release of their nationals held by ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq.

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