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UN Slaps Sanctions on 8 Linked to Islamic State, Al-Qaida

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to impose sanctions against eight individuals and businesses linked to the Islamic State extremist group and al-Qaida in a wide-ranging resolution aimed at stepping up international efforts "to counter terrorism and terrorist financing."

The eight additions to the U.N. sanctions blacklist include IS leaders in Southeast Asia, IS-affiliated extremist groups in Syria, foreign fighters from the Caucuses and an illicit money exchange business.

U.S. deputy ambassador Michele Sison called the resolution adopted Thursday "another important step" to defeat Islamic State and al-Qaida extremists and their affiliates, stressing that "for the United States, there is no higher priority."

But even as the Islamic State group is losing ground in Syria and Iraq, she said, "the threat is far from over" and the extremist group "will continue looking to spread its ideology and radicalize new groups around the world."

The U.S.-drafted resolution urges greater international cooperation to cut off funding to extremist groups, prevent them from acquiring weapons, and step up cooperation to address the issues of fighters for IS and al-Qaida returning home.

"There will be more designations to come," Sison said.

The resolution does not include nationalities of the individuals on the blacklist.

The U.S. mission identified the two Southeast Asians as Muhammad Bahrum Naim Anggih Tamtomo and Omar Rochman, and the two from the Caucuses as Malik Ruslanovich Barkhanoev and Murad Iraklievich Margoshvili.

The others on the list are Selselat al-Thabab, Jaysh Khalid Ibn al Waleed, Jund al Aqsa and the Hanifa Money Exchange Office branch located in Albu Kamal, Syria.

The resolution extends the mandate of a New York-based monitoring team for an additional two years after its current mandate expires in December 2019.

Sison stressed that implementing sanctions is just one part of a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, "and the violent extremist ideology that feeds it."

"All member states of the United Nations must work together to prevent groups from declaring allegiance to ISIS and becoming one of its affiliates," she said. "We must mobilize action to address ex-ISIS fighters who return or relocate to other countries � we can't allow them to become a new threat elsewhere."

Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said the action was "a very important step to strengthen the counterterrorism regime, and now all member states without any exception have to implement the decision of the Security Council."

But Safronkov said Russia is "deeply upset" that some Security Council members did not accept Russia's proposal to impose a complete ban on all trade and economic ties with all areas under IS control. He said Russia will keep pushing to have this ban adopted.

Source: Voice of America