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Russian diplomat urges UN to probe into oil exports by terrorists in Syria, Iraq

June 24, 2014, 9:40 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin says illegal exports of crude oil frim Iraq and Syria help finance terrorist organizations in the region
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Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin

Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin


THE UNITED NATIONS, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia believes that the UN Security Council should examine the problem of illegal exports of crude oil from Iraq and Syria, the revenues from which replenish the financial resources of terrorist organizations, including the fast-growing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said Monday upon the results of a meeting devoted to the situation in the Middle East.

He said the Russian delegation indicated during the conference, which had been partly held behind closed doors, that the terrorists’ activity was not confined to a single country.

“We also called the Security Council’s attention to the problem of financing terrorism,” Churkin said. “In the case of ISIS, the militants’ ability to export oil especially rings an alarm because it enables them to engage in terrorism.”

He recalled that the UN Security Council has taken preventive measures against Libya. They included sanctions against the ships transporting oil from the parts of the country controlled by terrorists.

Along with it, Churkin said Russia was not ready to initiate a similar draft resolution of the Security Council that would deal with Syria and Iraq.

“Still, it is quite obvious that the Security Council should pay attention to the problem, as it  immediately concerns a number of its resolutions, which deal with  financing terrorism,” he said. “That’s a serious problem and we’re going to tackle it."


Terrorist organizations in the Middle East

As he spoke about the problem of terrorism in the region of the Middle East, he leveled sharp criticism at the double standards espoused by the leaders of a number of countries.

“It’s especially bizarre to hear certain countries denounce some or other terrorist organizations in Iraq and take a radically different stance on the activity of just the very same organizations in Syria,” Churkin said.

Deputy Secretary-General for political issues Jeffrey Feltman took the floor at the meeting. He spoke about  the current status of Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement and the situation in Lebanon and Syria. In addition, he pointed to a growing threat of terrorism in the region.

Continuation of the conflict in Syria creates a highly fertile soil for radical armed groupings, including the ones linked to al-Qaeda, and the most recent developments in Iraq have shown that the Syrian conflict is capable of spreading devastating aftermaths to the regional countries and beyond their borders as well, Feltman said.


Syria's chemical weapons

Russia is still concerned that chemical weapons may fall into the hands of terrorists in Syria, Churkin noted.

“The biggest threat that could have come from the chemical weapons in Syria has been eliminated. However, as for the Russian delegation, we are still concerned about the ability of different terrorist groups to obtain chemicals that could be used for hostile purposes,” he said.

In the previous months, Syrian Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari repeatedly warned that Syrian terrorists were receiving components for chemical weapons from abroad. In March, the diplomat sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, notifying him that militants had purchased several chemicals from a Turkish company, including white phosphorus and isopropyl - the main component of zarin.

The last shipment of chemicals was removed from Syria earlier in the day. The substances, making up 8% of the country’s overall chemical stockpiles, were stored on the outskirts of Damascus and remained inaccessible for a long time due to armed hostilities in the area. They were loaded upon a Danish ship heading to Italy.

OPCW Secretary-General Ahmet Uzumcu described this as “a major landmark” in the process of removing chemical weapons from Syria. “The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura. The ship made its last call at the port of Latakia in what has been a long and patient campaign in support of this international endeavour,” Uzumcu said.

He said most of the chemicals would be destroyed within the next 60 days.

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