May 1, 2008 at 3:37 am Leave a comment

Yesterday, the Bush administration failed to meet a deadine to amend guidelines related to divestment in Sudan. In December 2007, Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, which required any company looking to receive or renew contracts with the U.S. government to ensure that it is not doing business with Sudan’s oil, mineral, power of defense sectors. SADA was aimed at companies that have so far provided most of Sudan’s funding and support.

While this Act was signed into law, it gave the administration 120 days to amend the federal procurement guidelines to enforce this divestment; however the administration has failed to do so.

The Genocide Intervention Network, the Save Darfur Coalition, the NAACP, American Jewish World Service, National Association of Evangelicals and STAND all stressed the importance of SADA, which would put pressure on Sudan’s funders, which provide the bulk of the money needed for Sudan to continue its atrocities against its citizens. These groups recently declared that by allowing the deadline to pass, the U.S. government is sending the wrong message to Khartoum.

To understand the importance of such a bill, one can look at the French company Alstom. Currently, they are involved in the Merowe Dam power project in Sudan, which is government-sponsored by Sudan and provides Khartoum with capital. Alstom is also involved in providing new metrocars to the Washington Metro Area Transport Authority for $323 million. Once SADA’s guidelines are implemented, Alstom would lose $100 million in contracts with the U.S. and the federal government’s actions would encourage state and local governments, such as the District of Columbia and Arlington which help fund D.C’s transportation system, to divest from such companies.


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