The Security Council decided on Tuesday to impose fresh sanctions in the latest attempt to persuade the ruling Taliban movement to handover alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden and curb the hosting of terrorist camps in Afghanistan.
According to UN sources in New York, the measures were adopted on Tuesday by a vote of 13 in favour with China and Malaysia abstaining. The sanctions will take effect in one month and will last for one year, or until the Taliban comply with the demands of the Security Council. In the absence of cooperation by the Taliban movement, the sanctions may be extended beyond the current one year horizon.
Speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the the decision to impose sanctions on the Taliban movement was “not going to facilitate our peace efforts nor is it going to facilitate our humanitarian work”.
Although the Security Council had received adequate information about these views, he said that the decision on sanctions was the Council’s to make. “Once they take that decision, we have to adapt and take the necessary measures required,” he said.
According to UN sources, the new sanctions repeated previous demands that the Taliban “cease the provision of sanctuary and training for international terrorists and their organisations”, close all terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and hand over Osama bin Laden, who is held responsible by the US for the bombing of two of its East African embassies in 1999.
The UN reported on Tuesday that the arms embargo adopted, imposed on the Taliban movement but not the United Front, applied to all types of weapons, related military material or equipment. It also included the provision of technical training or advice related to the military activities of “armed personnel under Taliban control”. The Security Council resolution also requested that all Member States with diplomatic ties to the ruling Taliban movement reduce their staff at Taliban missions and restrict movement of staff that remained.
The existing ban of financial assets of the Taliban movement was extended to include the freezing of funds and other financial assets of bin Laden and associated individuals. States were also called upon to extend the ban on international Ariana Airlines flights by closing its offices in their territories, it said.
The new measures contained a number of humanitarian exemptions, including special clearance to continue humanitarian flights by relief agencies working in Afghanistan.
Special dispensations were also made to ensure that the arms embargo did not apply to supplies of non-lethal equipment intended for humanitarian or protective use, the report said.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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