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UN Security Council urges end to ransom payments to extremists

Published on Jan 28, 2014 12:57 AM

UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - The UN Security Council is urging countries to stop the payment of kidnap ransoms to extremist groups like Al-Qaeda, which have earned hundreds of millions of dollars from such crimes.

No new legal obligations were created by the British-drafted resolution - unanimously adopted by the 15-member council - as states are already required not to pay kidnap ransoms under an anti-terrorism resolution adopted in 2001.

"We estimate that in the last three and a half years, Al-Qaeda-affiliated and other Islamist extremist groups have collected at least US$105 million (S$134 million)," British UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters.

"It is therefore imperative that we take steps to ensure that kidnap for ransom is no longer perceived as a lucrative business model and that we eliminate it as a source of terrorist financing," he said. "We need to break that cycle."

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