UN Security Council puts sanctions focus on ISIS

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- The U.N. Security Council warned on Thursday that some countries are failing to implement long-standing sanctions against Islamic State, as an unprecedented meeting of finance ministers put the global focus on cutting off the militant group's funds.

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The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution that ties together existing measures targeting Islamic State's finances and offers guidance on implementation in a bid to push more countries to act.

It builds on a Security Council action in February that banned trade in antiquities from Syria, threatened sanctions on anyone buying oil from Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front militants and urged states to stop kidnap ransom payments.

"We already have a lot of these tools ... we're going to be bringing together a lot of strands, but what we most need now is states to do what they're supposed to do," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The resolution "expresses concern about the lack of implementation" of previous resolutions targeting al Qaeda and Islamic State, including an "insufficient level of reporting" by states on measures they have taken to implement United Nations sanctions.

The council renamed its al Qaeda sanctions regime the "ISIL (Daesh) and al Qaeda Sanctions Committee" -- Islamic State is also known as ISIL and Daesh -- and called on states to report within 120 days on their implementation of sanctions.

Islamic State, which was blacklisted by the Security Council sanctions committee as an offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq in May 2013, has seized swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria where it has proclaimed a caliphate.

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The council also specifically asked states to report to on "interdictions in their territory of any oil, oil products, modular refineries, and related material being transferred to or from (Islamic State or Nusra Front)."

Islamic State militants have made more than $500 million trading oil with significant volumes sold to the Syrian government and some finding its way to Turkey, a senior U.S. Treasury Department official said last week.

Russia has also accused Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan and his family of benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq. Erdogan has denied the accusations.

The U.S. and Russian-drafted resolution -- the result of a planned 18-month review of the al Qaeda sanctions regime -- was adopted at the meeting of Security Council finance ministers chaired by U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The United States is president of the council for December.

There are currently 243 individuals and 74 entities on the ISIL and al Qaeda sanctions list. They are subject to an arms embargo and a global asset freeze and travel ban.

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The resolution makes clear that states are required to prevent their citizens from funding or providing services to "terrorist organizations or individual terrorists for any purpose, including but not limited to recruitment, training, or travel, even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act."

United Nations experts have said about 22,000 foreign fighters from some 100 countries are linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

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