By Impunity Watch Africa
President George Bush announced yesterday the imposition of new economic sanctions against Sudan targeting government-run companies involved in the oil industry and three individuals, including a rebel leader suspected of being involved in the Darfur conflict. In announcing the new measures, Bush stated that the US would no longer turn its eyes from the crisis called its “rightful name” by his administration: genocide. The United Nations has estimated that 200,000 people have been killed and 2 million made homeless since the conflict broke out four years ago. Sudan has disputed these estimates, and claim that only 9,000 people have died.
Sudan’s government immediately criticized the action, calling it “unfair and untimely” and based solely on politics. One official stated that Sudan was counting on its “friends” such as China, which takes sixty percent of its oil exports, to avert the economic hurt caused in the long run by the sanctions. Sudanese officials further stated that US sanctions will have little effect due the fact that they have no direct trade ties with the US.
While many humanitarian organizations welcomed the new sanctions, they also cautioned that it might be too little, too late. Save Darfur Coalition director David Rubenstein cautioned President Bush to “set a short and firm deadline for fundamental changes in Sudanese behavior, and prepare now to implement immediately further measures should Khartoum continue to stonewall.” Amnesty International stated that without the support of the international community, unilateral sanctions against Sudan would do little.
Britain quickly stated that it is behind the US actions, fully supporting the sanctions and the US efforts to address the situation in the Security Council of the UN. A UN resolution would apply new international sanctions against the government, would seek to impose an expanded embargo on arms sales to Sudan, prohibit Sudan’s government from conducting offensive military flights over Darfur, and strengthen the US ability to monitory and report any violations. A resolution from the Security Council may take some time however, due to the longstanding opposition from China. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated yesterday that he needed more time to promote negotiations and to persuade the Sudanese government to accept more peacekeepers.
For more information, please see:
allAfrica – Sudan: US Sanctions welcome but too late – 30 May 2007
BBC – US Sanctions ‘won’t help Darfur’ – 30 May 2007
Reuters – Amensty doubts Sudan sanctions, urges Arab pressure – 30 May 2007
MSNBC – Bush imposes new sanctions on Sudan – May 2007
Yahoo – Sudan: US sanctions to have little fiscal impact – May 2007
Yahoo – Sudan shrugs off US ‘genocide’ sanctions as political – May 2007
Yahoo – Britain backs US on Darfur sanctions – May 2007