UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations has finally removed Osama bin Laden from the list of al-Qaida members subject to U.N. sanctions, nearly two years after he was killed by U.S. commandos in Pakistan.
The U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against the terrorist group approved the deletion on Feb. 21, according to their website.
The al-Qaida leader was accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and on a crashed plane in Pennsylvania, that killed nearly 3,000 people.
"Bin Laden's removal from the list is a purely technical matter, and was conducted under the provisions related to deceased persons," Kurtis Cooper, deputy spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said Tuesday. "This action in no way signals a change in the international or U.S. position on al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden's role in the tragic events of 9/11 and other terrorist acts and support."
The sanctions committee said the asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo no longer apply to bin Laden.
But it said member states requesting to unfreeze his assets must provide assurances to the committee that the funds will not be transferred to any other individual or group on the U.N. sanctions list.
The list currently includes 233 individuals and 63 organizations, foundations and companies.
Cooper said that the United States successfully pressed the Security Council to include a provision in a resolution last December updating the listing and delisting procedures for sanctions against al-Qaida that will prevent the unfreezing of funds that belonged to bin Laden if the United States or any other council member objects.
The Security Council first imposed sanctions against the Taliban in November 1999 for refusing to send bin Laden to the United States or a third country for trial on terrorism charges in connection with the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
The sanctions were later extended to al-Qaida and in July 2005, they were extended again to cover affiliates and splinter groups of al-Qaida and the Taliban.
In June 2011, the Security Council voted unanimously to treat al-Qaida and the Taliban separately when it comes to U.N. sanctions, a move aimed at supporting the Afghan government's reconciliation efforts and more effectively fighting global terrorism.
Bin Laden's designation on the sanctions list gave his name as Usama Muhammed Awad bin Laden with 13 "good quality" aliases and two "low quality" aliases. It gave four specific dates and two years, 1956 and 1957, for his birth date and noted that his Saudi citizenship was withdrawn and that the Taliban gave him Afghan nationality.