Bush signs Sudan sanctions bill
October 22, 2002
by Center for Religious Freedom
US President George W. Bush signed legislation Monday calling for sanctions on Sudan if he finds Khartoum is not negotiating in good faith with southern rebels to end a bloody 19-year civil war.
"The Government of Sudan must choose between the path to peace and the path to continued war and destruction," Bush said in a statement released by the White House after he signed the "Sudan Peace Act."
"If it makes the right choice, that course will mean improvement in the lives of all Sudanese, better bilateral relations with the United States, and the beginning of its reacceptance into the community of peace loving nations."
In a separate statement, Bush said that he viewed the legislation's requirements as non-binding because of the executive branch's prerogative to chart the course of US foreign policy.
Sudan's government has branded the measure "unbalanced and unobjective," and said it will offer insurgents in the southern part of the war-torn country no incentive to stay engaged in the peace process.
More than two million people have been killed since civil war erupted in Sudan in 1983, and twice that number have been displaced.
Under the new law, the US president must evaluate every six months whether the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) are pursuing peace talks in good faith.
If he finds that the government, but not the SPLM, is acting in bad faith or has "unreasonably interfered with humanitarian efforts" in the south, then Washington will vote against multilateral loans to Sudan and consider downgrading or suspending diplomatic ties, the resolution says.
The United States will also try to prevent Sudan from using oil revenues to acquire weapons, and seek a UN Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo on Sudan's government.
The legislation also authorizes the administration to spend 100 million dollars a year in fiscal years 2003, 2004, 2005 to improve conditions in areas of Sudan not under government control.
And the Sudan Peace Act also directs the US Secretary of State to collect information about possible crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes committed by any party to the conflict in Sudan.
Sudan's government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army signed a Memorandum of Understanding on October 15 in Machakos, Kenya, pledging to suspend fighting and resume peace talks.
Just two days later, the rebels accused the government of attacking rebel forces in eastern Sudan, in violation of the truce.
The Sudan media Friday reported that the government was fighting in that area, but against Eritrean troops, not Sudanese rebels.
Eritrea has repeatedly denied that its troops are fighting in Sudan.
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