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Obama renews sanctions against Sudan

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    US President says Sudan hostile to US interests , poses extraordinary threat to Washington. Obama renews sanctions against Sudan Middle East Online
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2009
      US President says Sudan 'hostile' to US 'interests', poses 'extraordinary threat' to Washington.

      Obama renews sanctions against Sudan
      Middle East Online

      WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama renewed sanctions on Sudan Tuesday, a week after unveiling a new policy of pressure and incentives toward the Khartoum government aimed at settling the simmering conflict.

      "The crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the government of Sudan... has not been resolved," Obama said in a message to Congress about the one-year extension of sanctions.

      "These actions and policies are hostile to US interests and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

      The sanctions restrict US trade with and investment in Sudan, freezes the Sudanese government assets in the United States, and bans transactions with individuals and entities linked to the conflict in Darfur.

      Critics say the ICC warrant singles out weak states like Sudan, while taking a hypocritical stance towards countries like the US and Israel by ignoring worse atrocities committed by them, and by not charging American and Israeli officials with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      The sanctions are part of a revised US policy that seeks to ensure the country does not become a "safe haven for terrorists" and that a peace deal to end a 22-year civil war in the south is fully implemented.

      In an example of how these sanctions are enforced, Washington lobbyist and former State Department employee Robert Cabelly was indicted on Tuesday for violating Sudan sanctions regulations.
      Cabelly, who was said to have brokered oil business contracts and transactions benefiting Sudan and provided Khartoum with sensitive controlled US government information, also faced charges of money laundering, passport fraud and making false statements.

      The new strategy involves US engagement with Khartoum government officials, although the outreach will not include President Omar al-Beshir, who faces an International Criminal Court arrest warrant on war crimes charges over the Darfur conflict.

      Washington also said it would watch for "credible elections" scheduled for next year under a fragile 2005 peace deal between the government and former rebels in the south that ended a north-south civil war.

      Sudan has been under US sanctions since 1997, and remains on the US list of state sponsors of terror.

      The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003, when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum and its allies.

      Over the last six years, the rebels have fractured into multiple movements, fraying rebel groups, banditry, flip-flopping militias and the war has widened into overlapping tribal conflicts.

      The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died from the combined effects of war, famine and disease and more than 2.7 million fled their homes.

      Many of the rebels enjoy direct and indirect foreign support that helped fuel the conflict, with some critics pointing the finger at France, which has a military presence in neighbouring Chad – also accused of arming the Sudanese rebels. France had been accused of involvement in the genocide in Rwanda, but Paris denied responsibility, conceding only that `political' errors were made.



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