UN weighs new measures to choke off ISIS finances

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power speaking at a discussion with Sri Lankan youth in Colombo on Nov 23, 2015.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power speaking at a discussion with Sri Lankan youth in Colombo on Nov 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The United States and Russia are drafting UN resolutions aimed at ramping up global efforts to choke off the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group's sources of financing, envoys said on Tuesday (Dec 2).

The proposed new Security Council measure would build on a resolution adopted in February that sought to cut off millions of dollars in earnings from ISIS smuggling of oil and antiquities.

US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters that the draft resolution "will consolidate and streamline the council's recent efforts" on ISIS financing and introduce "new steps to make the sanctions more effective."

The measure could be adopted around Dec 17 during this month's US presidency of the Security Council.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin separately told reporters that he was also discussing a draft measure to "tighten up" the anti-ISIS financing measures.

Ms Power said the United States would be looking at the Russian proposals to "see how these efforts come together," but it was unclear if there would be agreement on a single draft. There is a "shared objective," she said.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday accused Turkey of shooting down a Russian warplane to protect ISIS oil routes across the border from Syria to Turkey.

Mr Putin said oil produced in ISIS-controlled areas were being transported by tankers to Turkey "on an industrial scale." A report by the UN's Al-Qaeda monitoring team released in November last year estimated that the militants earn US$850,000 to US$1.65 million (S$1.2 million to S$2.3 million) per day from oil sales.

US officials, however, now say that oil is no longer the main source of revenue for ISIS.

The resolution adopted in February calls for sanctions against individuals and entities that trade in oil with ISIS and urges all 193 UN countries to take "appropriate steps" to prevent the trade in cultural property from Iraq and Syria.