Statement by Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts
December 17, 2015
We welcome the convening of today’s Security Council timely and important meeting on suppressing the financing of terrorism. The consequences of the outbreak of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa are spreading far beyond the region. The recent terrorist attacks demonstrated that the world is facing a threat of global nature and scale. At the same time, it is quite clear that its breeding ground lies is the Iraqi and Syrian territory that has been seized by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). There is a need to rebuff ISIL decisively and in a coordinated manner, and to that end to elaborate a clear mechanism for action by the international community. We can eradicate that absolute evil only by acting together, without double standards, and by fully suppressing the channels used to finance terrorism. In February, at Russia’s initiative, the Security Council adopted resolution 2199 (2015), reaffirming and creating new commitments for States in preventing the financing of terrorism through the illicit trafficking of oil, other natural resources, antiquities and other sources. Unfortunately the obligations under the resolution are not being shouldered by all or everywhere. In that regard, it is clear that the special responsibility for suppressing the channels for the financing of ISIL unavoidably rests with the States bordering on Iraq and Syria. We are forced to note that the sale of fossil fuel from ISIL-controlled territory continues. It is organized with the complicity of tenebrous economic structures, whereby oil is acquired by smugglers for cash in areas where it is extracted and refined. They freely cross borders, entering in direct contact with the heads of ISIL and conclude business deals with them.It is estimated that the illicit export of fuel by ISIL is reaching $1.5 million per day. The majority of oil products move through Turkey. In the majority of cases, oil is transported in trucks by road through the border crossing points of Karkamış, Akçakale, Cilvegözü and Öncüpınar. The trucks number in the thousands, and the shipments are carried out on behalf of ISIL by a number of Turkish companies, including Serii in the city of Konya and Sam Otomotiv in the city Antakya. The oil purchased in Turkey for ISIL is transported to the Tüpraş Refinery in the city of Batman. However the main flow goes through Trukish ports located on the Mediterranean Sea, mainly Ceyhan.As a result of air strikes by the Russian Federation’s aerospace forces, the volume of illicit oil exports has been substantially reduced. On the other hand, it has increased the importance for terrorists of alternative sources of financing through other natural resources and agricultural and industrial production. The total value of that basket is already approaching $700 million per year. For example, ISIL’s income from the sale of phosphates is close to $250 million; from the sale of barley and rye, $200 million; and from cement, $100 million. There is also trafficking in hostages and cultural artefacts, and foreign donations continue to flow in. The proceeds are used by ISIL to purchase weapons and ammunition. The supreme military council of ISIL monthly allocates over $30 million for that purpose.
Purchases of weapons and ammunition for terrorists take place through shell companies in a number of Eastern European States. Only since September, under the pretext of strengthening the Syrian opposition, rocket missiles for Grad multiple rocket launcher systems and grenades for hand-held portable anti-tank grenade launchers, small arms and ammunition, as well as spare parts for Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers have all entered ISIL-controlled Syrian territory. What is noteworthy is that most of the weapons consignments are of Soviet design, manufactured in Eastern Europe on expired Soviet licenses. To eradicate ISIL’s illicit economy, a quantitative strengthening of the measures undertaken by States and the international community as a whole is needed. An important step was taken today. Upon the initiative of Russia and the United States, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2253 (2015), aimed at combating ISIL and other terrorist organizations and their financing. The key task of the resolution, in our eyes, lies in strengthening the regime for tracking and suppressing the channels used to illicitly finance ISIL and associated groups. The United Nations monitoring and sanctions mechanisms can now clearly focus on eradicating any manifestation of terrorist financing. Work will not be limited to the United Nations alone. The potential of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to elaborate counter-financing and money-laundering measures will be activated. Forty-five days following the adoption of the resolution, the Secretary-General will issue a report containing concrete and frank assessments, including with respect to the sources of the illicit financing of ISIL.It is important that the resolution pinpoints ISIL as the most dangerous independent terrorist threat. That is why the sanctions list and special committee were both renamed. The listing criteria have been made clearer, which will allow for any natural or legal person who has been complicit with that criminal organization to be subject to sanctions. The resolution calls for full coordination among States in their efforts to investigate crimes related to the financing of ISIL, Al-Qaida and associated organizations, including the extradition and prosecution of those guilty of such actions. Special stress is placed in that regard on cooperation with States on whose territory or against whose citizens such terrorist attacks have been carried out.In the Russian Federation, we are working consistently and systematically at the national level to counter and suppress the financing of terrorism. On 18 November, by presidential decree, an inter-agency committee to suppress the financing of terrorism was created. An inter-agency plan has been elaborated, in the framework of which financial intelligence and law enforcement agencies have conducted close to 5,000 investigations, resulting in the initiation of 270 criminal cases. Over 1,600 natural and legal persons are suspected of having provided material support to ISIL. With the support of the legislative branch, work to improve legislation to counter terrorism is ongoing. Our country will continue to take decisive measures to counter ISIL. We will defeat that evil only by presenting a common front. As the President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has repeatedly said, combating the threat of terrorism will require the consolidation of the entire international community’s efforts, with respect for the norms of international law and with a central role to be played by the Security Council.