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U.N. Security Council Passes Anti-Terrorism Resolution


The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to call on countries to do more to stop the flow of money and volunteer fighters going to terrorist groups. President Obama chaired the meeting. He's trying to rally the world to help in the fight against militants in Syria and Iraq calling themselves the Islamic State, or ISIS. The president says the problem goes well beyond that region and requires a global response, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The Security Council meeting came on a day of another brutal murder - this time of a French man by a group in Algeria linked to the extremists in Iraq and Syria. For French president Francois Hollande, the beheading was a stark reminder of the dangers of extremist ideology. He addressed reporters through an interpreter at the end of an emotional day.


PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE: (Through translator) These gruesome and terrible events generated a lot of emotion all around the world and in France, of course. And it underlines, if need be, how much we have to fight terrorism everywhere and at all levels, everywhere it is taking place.

KELEMEN: President Obama says there's been an unprecedented flow of foreign fighters in recent years to Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Libya and most recently, Syria and Iraq.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Our intelligence agencies estimate that more than 15,000 foreign fighters from more than 80 nations have traveled to Syria in recent years.

KELEMEN: And at least 500 are British, says U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON: One of the most disturbing aspects is how this conflict is sucking in our own young people from modern prosperous societies. And the threat to our security from foreign fighters is far greater today than it's ever been in previous conflicts.

KELEMEN: Cameron says his country will do more to stop suspects from traveling and make it easier for authorities to seize passports. The Security Council resolution calls on all countries to take similar steps and crack down on terrorism financing and the recruitment of foreign fighters. Obama says it was a rare moment of unity in the halls of the U.N. And he called for follow-up.

OBAMA: Lofty rhetoric and good intentions will not stop a single terrorist attack. The words spoken here today must be matched and translated into action.

KELEMEN: Despite the unanimous vote in the Security Council, some regional tensions seeped through the meeting. Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says his country is facing unjust criticism because many fighters have crossed into Syria along Turkey's porous border. He spoke through an interpreter.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: (Through translator) This is not a fight to be carried out solely by Turkey. The threat of foreign terrorist fighters starts the moment these individuals deport from the source countries. Thus the combat against these individuals should start in the source countries.

KELEMEN: Only now, he says, are countries starting to cooperate. And Turkey has put 6,300 people on a no entry list. Erdogan says he's been warning for years that Syria was becoming a magnet for terrorism because of the brutality of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

ERDOGAN: (Through translator) Inertia of the international community, despite the policies of violence toward the Syrian population by the regime, has prepared the ground for al-Qaida to re-emerge in Syria and grow stronger under the name of ISIL.

KELEMEN: Syria's ambassador accused some in the room, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of funding terrorism in his country. He says they're trying to make a distinction between good terrorists and bad terrorists, moderates and extremists. The U.S. and its partners though, say the Syrian government allowed the Islamic State militants to flourish. And their counting on more moderate rebels to pick up the fight on the ground against both ISIS and Assad as the U.S.-led air campaign continues.

Michele Kelemen, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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