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United States Tightens Sudan Sanctions

29 May 2007

Bush urges Khartoum to end genocide in Darfur

Washington –- The United States will tighten economic sanctions against Sudan for failing to end the violence in Darfur, President Bush announced May 29.

“For too long, the people of Darfur have suffered at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder and rape of innocent civilians,” Bush said.

Since 2003, violence in Darfur has claimed more than 200,000 lives, displaced 2 million people, and forced an additional 200,000 to flee into neighboring Chad, according to the State Department’s 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released in March.

“My administration has called these actions by their rightful name: genocide,” Bush said.  “The world has a responsibility to help put an end to it.”

Bush proposed expanded sanctions in an April 18 speech, but delayed action at the request of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hoped further international negotiation would break the diplomatic deadlock.  (See related article.)

Bush said Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir has not stopped the killing.

"President Bashir’s actions over the past few weeks follow a long pattern of promising cooperation, while finding new methods for obstruction,” Bush said, which necessitates the U.S. sanctions plan.

First, Bush said, the U.S. Treasury Department will bar 31 Sudanese companies that have profited from genocide from doing business with U.S. companies or accessing the U.S. financial system. Included is a firm that has violated the international arms embargo by shipping weapons to government forces and militias in Darfur, according to a White House fact sheet.  The Treasury Department also will expand its investigations into individuals and companies suspected of working secretly with Sudan to violate sanctions.

Second, sanctions will be targeted against three individuals responsible for violence.  They are Ahmad Muhammed Harun, Sudan’s minister for humanitarian affairs; Awad Ibn Auf , Sudan’s head of military intelligence and security; and Khalil Ibrahim, leader of a rebel group that has refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement. These persons will be cut off from the U.S. financial system, barred from doing business with any American citizen or company, and publicly identified for their crimes.

Third, Bush said he is directing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to consult with the United Kingdom and other allies on a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

And, Bush said, the United States will continue to push for U.N. support, including funding for African Union peacekeepers, which he said are the only force in Darfur that is protecting people.

In November 2006, the United States joined 12 other nations, the African Union (AU), the European Union, and the Arab League in an agreement under which the Sudanese government and rebel forces would strengthen their cease-fire and accept broadening the 7,000 member AU peacekeeping force into a blended U.N.-AU mission.

Despite the agreement, Sudan expanded offensive operations in the region and has blocked the deployment of 3,000 members of the U.N. force as well as vital shipments of food, medicine and other aid from the United States, Bush said.

“The Sudanese government has failed to implement its obligations under the Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006,” Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said May 29 at a State Department briefing.  “None of this is acceptable to the United States, and we think that none of it is acceptable to the world community.”

Negroponte said that new sanctions support the U.N.’s negotiations.  “There is no good argument for giving the Sudanese more time,” he said. “The Sudanese government has shown what it does with more time.”

At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the United States has begun consulting with its allies on the Security Council about a new sanctions resolution, but gave no indication when a draft would be presented to the full 15-nation council.

The United States is working closely with Secretary-General Ban on peacekeeping, political diplomacy and humanitarian assistance in Darfur, Khalilzad said.

However, "sanctions and diplomacy can work together," he added.  Given Sudan's record, there is a need for continued pressure on the government, as well as the rebels and neighboring countries, to cooperate in all three areas, he said.

"My message to the government in Sudan is that it is imperative that they cooperate with the effort in terms of important benchmarks that have been communicated to them: ceasing attacks, dismantling the Jingaweit militias, allowing uninterrupted humanitarian assistance and, of course, agreeing very quickly to the agreement that has been made between the United Nations and the African Union on the hybrid force," Khalilzad said.

The United States is the largest single donor to the people of Darfur.  To date, the United States has contributed more than $1.7 billion in humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance.

A transcript of Bush’s remarks, as well as a related fact sheet, are available on the White House Web site.

For more information, see Darfur Humanitarian Emergency.

(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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