Tuesday, May 29, 2007

US to toughen sanctions on Sudan


US President George W Bush is set to announce fresh sanctions on Sudan over the Darfur conflict, US officials said.

The US will also push for a stronger UN Security Council resolution punishing Khartoum over the ongoing violence, singling out President Omar al-Bashir.

Washington will ban more companies from US trade and crack down on individuals suspected of violence in Darfur.

China, a major customer for Sudan's oil, said the new US sanctions would only complicate the problem.

"These wilful sanctions and simply applying pressure is not conducive to solving the problem," said Liu Guijin, China's special representative on the Darfur issue.

US President George W Bush is due to speak at the White House at 0800 (1200 GMT).

"President Bashir's actions over the past few weeks follow a long pattern of promising co-operation while finding new methods of obstruction," Mr Bush will say, according to a draft of the speech.

The strengthened measures, which also include toughening existing sanctions imposed in 1997, will take effect immediately, US government officials said, targeting mainly companies in the oil industry.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the new sanctions against Sudan, his spokesman said, saying "what is happening in Sudan is not acceptable by any international standards".

More than 200,000 people have been killed and about two million have fled their homes amid fighting by government-backed Arab Janjaweed militias and rebel groups in Darfur. ....

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