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UN: Measures Against al-Qaida/Taleban Not Effective - 2003-11-13

The head of the United Nations al-Qaida/Taleban Sanctions Committee says the measures are doing little to curb the groups' activities. The Security Council is considering moves to toughen the sanctions regime.

In a report to the Security Council Wednesday, the Sanctions Committee Chairman, Chilean Ambassador Heraldo Munoz painted a bleak picture of the campaign to control al-Qaida and Taleban activities. He said suspected terrorist groups seem to be getting better at evading U.N. restrictions, while efforts to combat them are stalled.

Ambassador Munoz said fewer than half the U.N.'s 191 member states are cooperating with efforts to monitor al-Qaida's finances. Even those who are cooperating - he says - are not providing complete information, making it easy for the terrorists to conceal their financial dealings.

"We're concerned about way al-Qaida is circumventing the sanctions," says Mr. Munoz. "For example, member states are clearly willing to freeze bank accounts, but the report states that oftentimes individuals and organizations related to al-Qaida have property and business that continue to function despite the fact that some of those organizations are designated on our list."

Ambassador Munoz says says he will submit a list before the end of the year of more than 100 countries still not cooperating in enforcing the sanctions. He says the Sanction Committee is concerned by evidence that terror groups are showing increasing interest in purchasing surface-to-air missiles. "This is urgent. They have high mobility, they have the flexibility of changing funds from one country to another," he says. "Let us remember the main characteristic of al-Qaida is that it is a global terrorist network."

The Security Council imposed sanctions on al-Qaida and the Taleban shortly after September, 11 2001. The sanctions require all countries to freeze assets of any individual or group suspected of ties to either group.

After presenting his report, Ambassador Munoz said Council members appear ready to consider strengthening the sanctions.