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UN Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution in Fight Against Terrorism Financing, Including Illicit Sale of Antiquities

December 18, 2015

In an unprecedented move indicative of the serious nature that ISIS now poses to global security, the United States and Russia jointly called a meeting at the United Nations of the world’s top finance ministers. Today, the Security Council unanimously adopted a binding resolution to further monitor and control the flow of money to individuals and groups who might engage in terrorism. The United Nations noted that anyone engaging in these activities that could be supporting ISIS or al-Qaida could be subject to U.N. sanctions.

“Cutting [the Islamic State] off from the international financial system and disrupting its financing are critical to effectively combating this violent terrorist group,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement. “A united international front is vital to achieve that goal.”

The resolution was drafted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter and is legally binding.

It encourages the 193 U.N. member states “to more actively submit” names for inclusion on the sanctions list and expresses “increasing concern” at the failure of countries to implement previous sanctions resolutions.

The proposed resolution urges countries to share information about extremist groups and calls for a report within 120 days on what every country is doing to tackle the financing of IS and al-Qaida.

Adam Szubin, the acting U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said “The good news is ISIL has a number of vulnerabilities…They are fighting a multi-front war at the same time that they are trying to provide governance, provide assistance to overseas affiliates, and trying to build this reputation of a supposedly Islamic caliphate.”

“Denying [ISIS] access to the international financial system is a key element of any comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy it,” Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., added.

Sellers and purchasers of conflict antiquities should be aware that with the adoption of this resolution, they are subject to accusations of supporting terrorism. The Treasury Department, and Secretary Jacob Lew, deserve credit for this important success today in the fight against terrorism, but also for putting measures in place to bring about a halt to the sale of our past.