Global Policy Forum

US Seeks to Firm Up Terrorist Sanctions


By Nick Wadhams

Associated Press
July 14, 2005

The United States on Wednesday moved to strengthen U.N. sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban, circulating a draft resolution that would spell out in far greater detail those who could be punished. U.N. sanctions currently require all 191 U.N. member states to impose a travel ban and arms embargo against those "associated with'' Osama bin Laden's terror network and the former Afghan rulers and to freeze their financial assets.

The resolution dedicates almost half a page to better defining those groups and individuals who should fall under the sanctions regime. Among other things, they would include those who helped finance, plan or otherwise support al-Qaida, bin Laden, the Taliban "or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof.'' "We felt it was important to clarify who was covered by the definition of 'those associated with Osama ban Laden, al-Qaida and the Taliban,'" U.S. mission spokesman Richard Grenell said. Grenell said the definition will help close loopholes that have allowed some terror suspects to go unpunished. It's hard to say when the resolution will come up for a vote; it could be a few days or as much as a couple of weeks.

Earlier this year, a U.N. team investigating compliance with the sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban found that bin Laden's followers still have easy access to bombmaking materials and money. The report also noted that no member state reported a violation of the travel ban for the three years the sanctions had been in force - but it was "difficult to believe'' no al-Qaida or Taliban member had crossed a national border.

The U.S. draft resolution would also set up a monitoring team to assess national efforts to implement sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban. The team would also help come up with ways to punish countries that willingly ignore the sanctions. Third, the resolution would also share more information with two other U.N. committees: one that focuses on counterterrorism and one that deals with nuclear nonproliferation. It would also ask that the list of those under sanction be included in an Interpol database.

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