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UN Sanctions Tighten Against Taliban And Al-Qaida

Security Council Tightens Sanctions Against Taliban And Al-Qaida

The Security Council today tightened the sanctions regime against the Taliban and Al-Qaida in what the President of the 15-member UN body called a significant step forward in the struggle against terrorism.

"We've learned the lessons of our past errors to close the gaps that we had in the previous regime system," Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile told reporters following the resolution's adoption, adding that the process of improving the measures would continue.

The sanctions were originally adopted, and later tightened, in response to the indictment of Usama bin Laden for the 1998 terrorist bombings of US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.

States were required to freeze financial resources, including funds derived or generated by any undertaking owned or controlled by the Taliban, and to ensure that they are not used by the group. Countries were also obliged to freeze funds and other financial assets of Usama bin Laden and his associates in the Al-Qaida organization, and to prevent their entry or transit through the State's territory. In addition, nations must prevent the supply, sale and transfer of all arms and materiel - along with any form of military training - to the named individuals and entities.

Those measures were expanded by today's resolution, which covers additional kinds of financial assets while setting up mechanisms to ensure implementation.

"The decision has been made to upgrade - to improve - the sanctions against the terrorist network of Al-Qaida and the Taliban," Ambassador Muñoz explained. "The idea is to, through renewed efforts, not only freeze assets and economic resources, but very specific reference is made to properties, to concrete resources other than bank accounts."

He called this "a signal for countries to look at charities and also to be mindful of alternative remittance systems that could be used by terrorists to channel funds."

The resolution sets 31 March as the deadline for countries to submit written reports on the measures they have taken or to give reasons for not reporting. Those that do not comply will be named on a list to be circulated by the Security Council committee monitoring the implementation of the sanctions.

"I think that is a strong signal so that countries do what they have to do - in other words, comply with the Security Council resolutions," the President said.

Under the resolution, the Council also established a New York-based Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to work at the Committee's direction for the next year and a half. The Secretary-General was asked to name eight experts to serve on that team, which will periodically report to the Council on the implementation of the improved sanctions regime.

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