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Russia seeks UN ban on Syrian "terrorist" oil sales

Russia urged UN Security Council members on Monday to back a draft statement to bar crude oil sales by "terrorist groups" in Syria, including as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

UNITED NATIONS: Russia urged UN Security Council members on Monday to back a draft statement to bar crude oil sales by "terrorist groups" in Syria, including as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The text voices the council's concern at oil fields in Syria being seized by militants, and cites ISIL and Al-Nusra Front.

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 reminds 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 UN 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."

Russia, which currently holds the rotating UN presidency, hands it to Rwanda on July 1.

"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 UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters.

"We know that terrorist organisations are doing illegal oil trading from the territories of both Syria and Iraq (so since)... it is a terrorist organisation those who are buying this oil are financing terrorism."

ISIL, which rebranded itself as the Islamic State, claimed it was establishing a "caliphate" extending from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq, regions where it has fought against the regimes in power.

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