Middle East

Russia seeks U.N. ban on oil trade with ‘terrorists’ in Syria

Iraqi motorists (R) wait in lines to refuel their vehicles following shortages due to the Sunni militant offensive that has overrun large parts of the country, notbaly the areas where oil fields are located, on June 25, 2014 in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Russia urged U.N. Security Council members late Monday to back a draft statement that would bar crude oil sales by “terrorist groups” in Syria, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

The text voices the council’s concern at oil fields in Syria being seized by militants, and cites ISIS and the Nusra Front.

France Monday accused ISIS of selling oil to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a close ally of Moscow.

The draft statement, which could be discussed in the coming days, would have to be adopted unanimously by all 15 council members. As a statement, it is also less binding than a council resolution.

The Russian-backed measure “strongly condemns any engagement in direct or indirect trade of oil from Syria involving terrorist groups, and reiterates that such engagement constitutes financial support for entities designated by the Security Council 1267/1989 Committee as terrorist.”

Such a designation could include groups under U.N. sanctions.

The text further “encourages all member states to take necessary measures to prevent their nationals and entities and individuals in their territory from engaging in any commercial and financial transactions with respect to crude oil in Syria in the possession of non-state actors or sold by them.”

“One of the sources of financing of terrorists in the Middle East is the illegal sale of oil and various countries are buying through intermediaries,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters.

“We know that terrorist organizations are doing illegal oil trading from the territories of both Syria and Iraq,” he said, adding that because “it is a terrorist organization, those who are buying this oil are financing terrorism.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 02, 2014, on page 9.




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