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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 03:25 GMT 04:25 UK
US plays down UN al-Qaeda fears
Osama bin Laden
The report says Bin Laden has a large investment portfolio
American officials have played down the significance of a leaked United Nations report which says that the al-Qaeda network is alive and well and continues to pose a real threat to the world.


It is an incomplete picture of the financial war against terrorism

US Treasury Department
The report by a UN monitoring group, due to be published next week, says measures to freeze the funds of the organisation and apprehend its members have not been thoroughly implemented.

But in a statement, the US Treasury Department said the report was based on limited and sometimes out-of-date information.

It added that the draft document gave an incomplete picture of the campaign against Osama Bin Laden's organisation.

'Poised to strike'

"These reports and the committee's research, though very important, do not provide a complete picture of the success of our overall campaign to date... it is an incomplete picture of the financial war against terrorism," the US Treasury said.

Leaked report
Al-Qaeda may have more funds since it does not have to support the Taleban
Group continues to pose a significant threat
Is poised to strike again
Banks have lost enthusiasm for freezing accounts

US State Department spokesman also defended international efforts to fight al-Qaeda on the financial front.

"I would not characterise the situation as stalled. There are vigorous efforts going on internationally in a variety of channels in a variety of ways to increase the effectiveness," he said.

But, according to the UN report - prepared by a panel mandated to monitor the implementation of UN sanctions - al-Qaeda still has access to considerable funds and arms supplies.

Its ability to fund activities is thought to have increased in recent months as it no longer has to support the Taleban government or training camps in Afghanistan.

The organisation, warns the report, "is poised to strike again how and where it chooses".

"It continues to pose a significant threat to international peace and security."

'Funds flowing'

In accordance with a January resolution, all nations are required to freeze the finances, impose arms embargos and travel bans on individuals or groups connected with al-Qaeda or Bin Laden.

But the UN list of people associated with the organisation has not been comprehensively adopted by member states, and al-Qaeda members continue to travel freely.

Banks meanwhile have lost enthusiasm for freezing accounts allegedly belonging to al-Qaeda members, the report says.

Despite initial successes in locating and freezing more than $110m in assets belonging to al-Qaeda, it said only about $10m had been frozen this year.

It estimates that individuals acting on behalf of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda are managing a global investment portfolio that is valued at anything between $30m and $300m.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Greg Barrow
"Al-Qaeda still has access to considerable funds"

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29 Aug 02 | Europe
12 Mar 02 | Americas
07 Nov 01 | Business
25 Apr 02 | Business
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