Sudanese Companies Decry US Sanctions
By Ismail Kamal Kushkush
"How can we solve Darfur by ending the work of those in the Sugar
industry?" Osman asks.
KHARTOUM Sudanese companies affected by American economic sanctions
complain of being punished for a crime they never committed.
"This has nothing to do with Darfur," insists Farouk Osman, the
technical manager of the Sudanese Sugar Company.
"This is food stuff for the poor. Sugar is the cheapest source of
carbohydrates for the poor. Why do they sanction such a company?"
The company, which deals with the cultivation and processing of sugar
cane, is one of thirty-one companies of various specializations barred
from the US financial system.
US President George Bush announced the new package of sanctions in
late May as part of efforts to pile up pressures on Khartoum to solve
the Darfur conflict, raging since 2003.
The sanctioned companies, which are mostly public-owned, include
companies that provide food and medicine.
Osman admits that his company depends on American technology for some
of the cane loading equipment.
"We are trying to manufacture all the sugar cane processing equipment
He does not buy the American argument that the sanctions would help
solve the Darfur crisis.
"There are many Darfuris working here. How can we solve Darfur by
ending the work of those in the Sugar industry?" Osman asks.
"We think that this is a war on Sudan's economy because this is an
important economic sector."
One of the sanctioned companies is WafraPharma, the only public-owned
pharmaceutical company in Sudan.
"We are working in a humanitarian area for the production of essential
drugs to help poor people," insists Dr. Abdalla Gargar, the company's
"We were astonished!"
WafraPharma, according to Gargar, focuses on the production of
anti-malarial, anti-diarrhea and anti-biotical drugs.
He maintains that these "essential drugs" are prescribed and
recommended by the World Health Organization for poor third world
"WHO sends inspectors from time to time to make sure of our compliance
with good manufacturing standards."
In addition to manufacturing inexpensive pharmaceuticals, WafraPharma
also maintains small stocks of medicine for emergency crisis, such as
Darfur and the recent floods that hit eastern and central Sudan.
"We have just completed our program for circulating pharmaceuticals
for Darfur and other provinces," says Gargar.
"We are doing nothing illegal. We are only a pharmaceutical plant,"
insists Dr. Gargar.
Gargar does not think that the American sanctions will have a direct
impact, because most of WafraPharma's raw material and machinery is
not from the US, but from Europe.
"If sanctions are expanded to Europe it will create a problem. We are
not going to wait for the axe to fall on our head."
The fear of Europe joining the US in its sanctions gained more
credence after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French
President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened on August 31 of "toughening
sanctions" if no progress was made on Darfur.
Gargar he has already begun contacting suppliers in Europe to avoid
any future problems.
"You have seen our premises. We are doing nothing illegal. We are only
a pharmaceutical plant," is what Gargar intends to explain to his
`Abd al-Latif al-Buni, a political columnist with the widely-read
Al-Rai' Al-`Aam newspaper, does not think that the sanctions will have
a great direct impact.
"The US left Sudan gradually since 1983, politically and economically,
that is why it will not have a serious impact because there are no
Khartoum has already agreed to the deployment of a UN-African Union
hybrid-force, scheduled to replace the 7000-strong African
peacekeeping mission in Darfur on December 31.
Despite this political arrangement, the US has not indicated if it
will lift sanctions against Sudan.
In addition to the new package of sanctions, Washington maintains an
earlier set of economic sanctions slapped against Sudan in 1997 on the
ground of sponsoring terrorism.
Al-Buni, the political columnist, makes the point that the declaration
of sanctions may have an indirect effect.
"This is an image issue. When the US says it boycotts a county
some Arab countries may become reserved [to invest in Sudan]."
Dr. Abu al-Qasim Abu al-Nur, a professor of economics at the
University of Khartoum, believes the sanctions impact depends on
While Sudan's trade with the US is "insignificant" he argues, the move
may have an impact on the investment environment.
"Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) [which
ended civil war in South Sudan] there has been a flow of foreign
investment. This might be affected by the sanctions."
Ahmed El-Fadol, a 40-year-old businessman from Khartoum, believes that
sanctions will not help the Darfur issue.
"The US always uses a policy of arm-twisting," he says.
"The only way to solve the Darfur crisis is through dialog and
Ahmed Fethi, 56, a bank employee, agrees.
"We want a solution for Darfur and peace for its people, but not out
of the fear of sanctions."
In China, a Display of Resolve on Darfur
Answering Critics, Government Prepares to Send Peacekeeping Unit to Sudan
By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, September 16, 2007; A14
QINYANG BASE, China, Sept. 15 -- The Chinese military put on a display
of its first Darfur-bound peacekeepers Saturday, having troops throw
up Bailey bridges and feign combat to dramatize Beijing's desire to be
seen as a partner in bringing peace to the violence-torn corner of Sudan.
The training demonstration, by an engineering unit of the People's
Liberation Army, was observed by foreign journalists as part of a new
campaign by the Chinese government to show that it is cooperating with
the United States and other nations to end the Darfur fighting, which
since 2003 has displaced about 2.5 million people and contributed to
the deaths of as many as 450,000 from violence and disease.
Military engineers wearing U.N.-blue caps worked feverishly to build a
stretch of road, erect a bridge and put together a prefab shelter
designed to serve as a headquarters building. Force protection troops,
meanwhile, simulated reacting to an ambush and sped about the training
grounds here in armored personnel carriers in what an army announcer
called "a military training show."
In another facet of China's initiative, its special diplomatic envoy
for Darfur, Liu Guijin, repeatedly has sought in Washington and at the
United Nations to broadcast China's role in persuading the Sudanese
government to drop its opposition to a full U.N. peacekeeping force.
After long delays caused by hesitations in Khartoum, the Security
Council decided in late July to dispatch to Darfur a 26,000-member
force -- the largest peacekeeping unit in the world -- and deployment
is scheduled to begin by the end of the year. Since then, several
nations have redoubled their efforts to get peace negotiations underway.
"On the resolution of the Darfur issue, we have played a very
constructive and even unique role," Liu said to reporters this week at
U.N. headquarters in New York.
China's previous unwillingness to be seen pressuring the Sudanese
government had generated appeals for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing
Olympics, endangering what the Communist Party government hopes will
be a showcase at home and abroad for the country's swift economic
transformation. With Olympic enthusiasm high among the Chinese public,
anything that casts a shadow over the Games would become a political
problem for President Hu Jintao and the party.
Several U.S. entertainment figures, including Mia Farrow and Steven
Spielberg, raised the idea of a boycott earlier this year. Joining the
chorus, 108 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a
letter to the Chinese government in May warning that the Beijing Games
could be spoiled unless China became more actively involved in
stopping the violence in Sudan.
It is unclear to what degree the Security Council's decision and
Sudan's willingness to accept the U.N. force have dissipated the
threat of an Olympic boycott. Spielberg, for instance, had threatened
to back out of his role as artistic adviser for the opening ceremony;
his spokesman did not respond to a question whether the threat still
China has become Sudan's largest oil customer in recent years and has
signed large-scale oil exploration deals with the government in
Khartoum. In addition, it has sold weapons to the Sudanese military.
In that light, China's critics argue that it should be doing more to
make sure the Darfur conflict is resolved and the region's dire
humanitarian situation is tended to. The Bush administration, while
lauding China for trying to help, had complained repeatedly that
Beijing's diplomats were not using their full influence to push Sudan.
The training exercises, at this base in Henan province 400 miles south
of Beijing, involved a 315-man force of military engineers who are
scheduled to deploy to Darfur early next month. Their mission,
officers said, is to lay groundwork for the full U.N. peacekeeping
force by building roads, bridges and landing strips.
Senior Col. Dai Shaoan of the Defense Ministry's peacekeeping affairs
bureau said the Chinese force will include several construction units,
a force protection unit and a medical unit. China has not yet decided
whether to contribute combat troops to the full U.N. force, he said,
but will "study positively any request from the United Nations."
The engineering force will take 145 vehicles, including armored
personnel carriers, bulldozers and trucks, he said. It is made up
entirely of volunteer officers and enlisted men who will serve
eight-month rotations in Darfur, he added.
"They are all the top troops from their former units," Dai said.
Lt. Col. Shangguan Linhong, who will command the first rotation, said
his men, in addition to military training, have studied the origins of
the Darfur conflict and the geography and customs of the area where
they will be deployed. Although the region is overwhelmingly Muslim,
Dai said the Chinese military has not sought out Muslim troops for
this peacekeeping unit or others in Muslim areas.
China, which avoided contributing to U.N. peacekeeping missions until
1990, has sent more than 8,000 soldiers abroad since then. The Defense
Ministry said 1,648 Chinese soldiers are serving in U.N. peacekeeping
forces now, including those in Lebanon, Liberia and Congo.
Dai, sweating in the Chinese military's new olive-green uniform as he
answered reporters' questions, deflected queries about the criticism
directed at China and the threats of an Olympic boycott. "If you and I
are friends and I have problems with my brothers and sisters, nobody
can blame you for that," he said.
US trying to 'abort' peace effort
By Duraid Al Baik
Khartoum: Officials in Sudan are puzzled by what they see as the Bush
administration's complicated stance regarding the crisis in Darfur.
They say that, on the one hand, the United States calls on the
Sudanese government to abide by the UN recommendations and demands a
resolution of the crisis in Darfur. And on the other, the
administration intensifies its sanctions against the government.
In an interview with Gulf News, Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr Lam Akol
Ajawin said that every time Sudan comes close to an agreement on
Darfur, the US does something to ruin it.
"The possibility of reconciliation with groups of rebels who have not
yet joined peace efforts is looking more difficult and Sudan sees no
reason whatsoever for the US to play such a 'game' in the country," he
Dr Ajawin, who himself was a senior member of the Sudan People's
Liberation Army, which has waged a rebellion against the government in
southern Sudan since the mid 1980s, criticised the US for its stand on
Darfur and called on the US administration to review its policies
"The US approach to solving the humanitarian tragedy in Darfur is not
going to help settle the dispute. It will rather intensify the
confrontation and worsen the problem," he told Gulf News.
Following is the text of the interview:
Gulf News: US President George W. Bush last week ordered further
sanctions against Sudan. Bush said he had given Sudanese President
Omar Hassan Al Bashir ample time to resolve the crisis in Darfur but
Sudan failed to correct the situation in the troubled region. Was
Sudan really given enough time to resolve the crisis in Darfur? And
did it fail to do so?
Lam Akol Ajawin: The imposition of American sanctions at this time -
when the efforts at peace in Darfur are showing progress - proves the
US Administration's misjudgment of the situation in Darfur.
It exposes its ill-intentions and determination to abort all efforts
aimed at reaching a peaceful settlement not only to the Darfur problem
but to all the conflicts in the region.
Just to prove my point, see how the US and Britain came up with
demands to impose sanctions against Sudan in April this year, just
after Sudan's approval of the support package agreement with the
This shows that the agenda of these two countries for Sudan has
nothing to do with the situation in Darfur nor is it in the interests
of people in the region.
The recent imposition of sanctions by Bush clearly shows US bad
intentions against Sudan. On May 25, Sudan received the UN agreement
on the last phase of the hybrid operation that will allow a mix of
African Union forces and UN forces to work together under one command
and enforce peace in Darfur.
The UN approval was sent to Khartoum to be reviewed and was approved
by the authorities here.
However, the US imposed sanctions on May 29, just four days after the
UN approval on the Hybrid Forces. The message we took from this act by
the US is that no matter how much the Sudanese government cooperates,
the US is going to go ahead with its plans. The sanctions were strange
but it did not surprise us in Khartoum.
Actually I told the National Assembly last week that I expect a
continuation of the American designs against Sudan. The US will
increase its pressure and will step up its misleading campaigns
against my country.
We, in Sudan, decided to resist US plans by consolidating our
executive, legislative, political and popular efforts and negotiating
peace through dialogue with our brethren in Darfur. We have friends
around the world who are supporting Sudan in its sincere endeavour to
achieve peace in Darfur.
Have US sanctions and the repeated threats by the Bush administration
of furthering the embargo jeopardised Sudan's efforts to achieve peace
in Darfur? The problem has been brewing since 2003, but no proper
resolution of the crisis has been achieved yet.
America's policy towards Sudan impedes the peace process and the
ongoing efforts to reach a solution to the Darfur crisis.
They simply encourage the non-signatory factions to the Darfur Peace
Agreement (DPA) signed in May last year to continue defying the will
of the Sudanese people and the international community.
Such a policy is contradictory because the Bush administration, which
said it supports the Abuja Agreement, is at the same time trying to
disturb the Government of Sudan, which is entrusted with the
implementation of the agreement.
Furthermore, by adopting such an approach, the US, has not only acted
against the government of Sudan but it has also caused harm to
international efforts and the peace partners in Darfur.
What is the impact of the US sanctions against Sudan?
The sanctions will negatively affect the Sudanese economy and the
livelihood of people. They will affect the country badly, but the US
administration has left us with no choice but to peruse our efforts in
settling the crisis in Darfur.
Sudan will speed up peace negotiations with the non-signatory
factions. Sudan will work to contain America's plans to isolate it, by
propagating the imposition of sanctions and misleading international
We Sudanese will try our level best to foil the US attempts aimed at
influencing the Security Council to impose sanctions against our country.
I believe Sudan and the people of Darfur are caught in the middle of a
political game in the US. The unprovoked imposition of the US
sanctions on May 29 indicates clearly that both the US administration
and the Democrat-controlled Congress are scoring points against each
other by intensifying their efforts against Sudan.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has called on the
Sudanese government to hand over two of its officials for their
suspected role in the crimes against humanity that have occurred in
Darfur in the past three years. What is your position and are you
going to honour the international warrant?
Sudan is not a signatory to the the international court. It has
announced its position clearly at the beginning of the talks about the
The US adopts a similar position towards the court and did not
recognise its arrest warrants. The court has recently served two
warrants against Sayed Ahmad Haroun, Minister of State for
Humanitarian Affairs and Lieutenant General Awad Bin Auf, Director of
In addition to the above, the chief of the Justice and Equality
Movement, Dr Khalil Ebrahim, was also indicted by the court for his
role before joining the peace agreement in Abuja last year.
The Sudanese nationals will not be handed over to the international
court and the fate of the three people will be decided by the Sudanese
What do you think about the situation in Darfur? And do you believe
Sudan will be able to resolve it?
The situation in Darfur has become much better now. Humanitarian aid
is reaching displaced people in Darfur since the government committed
itself to a fast-track approach that facilitates the handing over of
humanitarian supplies to needy people.
We agreed in April this year on a roadmap in the Libyan capital,
Tripoli, that reiterates the needs of conflicting parties in Darfur to
meet and negotiate a solution to their disputes and we reached an
agreement with the Popular Movement for Rights and Democracy in West
Things are moving forward and we believe the agreement will be
implemented if the UN was allowed to fulfil its bit and deploy peace
forces in the region.
Lam Akol Ajawin
From rebel leader to foreign minister
Lam Akol Ajawin was born on July 15, 1950
Speaks Arabic, English, German and three local languages from southern
Sudan (Sholom, Nowair and Dinga)
Earned his doctorate in Chemical engineering from Imperial College of
Science and Technology at London University in 1980
Taught at various Sudanese universities till 1986.
Joined south Sudan rebels in 1986 and became the chief of Sudan
People's Liberation Army between 1994-2003.
Foreign Minister of Sudan since September 20, 2005.
The US embargo against Sudan
1. Presidential executive order No 13067 of November 3, 1997 by former
US President Bill Clinton regarding:
- Seizure of Sudanese government assets
- Prohibiting commercial transactions with the government.
2. Presidential executive order No 13400 of April 25, 2006 by current
President George W. Bush regarding:
- Seizure of assets of personalities connected with the conflict in
3.Presidential order No 13412 dated October 13, 2006 regarding:
- Barring financial transactions and freezing the assets of three
Sayed AhmAd Haroun, State Minister, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
Lt. General Awad bin Auf, Director of Military Intelligence.
Dr Khalil Ebrahim, Justice and Equality Movement.
- Barring 31 companies accused of contributing to the conflict in
Darfur from the US financial system and prohibiting by law any
American person or company from doing business with them.
- Sugar factories in Assalaya- Guneid- New Halfa, Sennar- The Sudanese
Sugar Production Co.- Advanced Mining Works Company- Advanced
Petroleum- Bashaier, Ram Energy- Hi-Tech Petroleum Group- Advanced
Chemical Works- Advanced Trading and Chemical Works- Alfara Chemicals
Co.- Wafra Pharma Laboratory- Arab-Sudanese Blue Nile Agricultural
Co.- Arab Sudanese Seed Co.- Arab-Sudanese Vegetable Oil Co.- The
Gezira Board, Giad Automotive Industry Co.- Giad Cars and Heavy
Tracks- Sudan Master Technology- Azza Air Transportation Co.- Sudan
Advanced Railways Co.- Hi Com, Hi Consult- Hi Tech Group, Advanced
Engineering Works- Hi-Tech Chemicals- Sudan Telecommunications Co.
(Sudatel)- Al Sunut Development Co.- Shiekan Insurance- Reinsurance Co.
- Directing the US Treasury Department to activate the previous
sanctions against the Sudan.
- Consulting with Britain and the rest of America's allies to issue a
new Security Council resolution imposing new international sanctions
against Sudan and individuals involved in violence, human rights
violations and obstructing the peace process in Darfur, in addition to
imposing a wide-ranging embargo on arms sales to the government of
Sudan and prohibiting the government from conducting any military
flights over Darfur.
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