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SUDAN - June 13 - US House Punishes Oil Firms.

The US House of Representatives votes, 422 to 2, for a series of measures prohibiting foreign oil firms doing business in Sudan from raising capital in the US or listing their securities in US financial markets. The move is aimed at pressuring the Khartoum government to seek an end to hostilities in the south that stretch back 18 years and have killed 2m people and resulted in reports of slavery, the conscription of children and bombings of civilian areas. US companies are already barred from doing business in Sudan under US sanctions imposed on Khartoum. Representative Tom Lantos, Democrat of California says: "We should not help foreign oil companies who are helping prolong this bloody slaughter". He calls it "shameful" that foreign oil companies could raise money in the US and use it to back what he considers genocide. (SPLA says oil revenues are used to finance the war effort of the Muslim-dominated government, and international aid groups maintain that the oil companies working in Sudan are abetting government human rights violations. The foreign oil companies operating in Sudan include China National Petroleum Corp. of China, Gulf Petroleum Corp. of Qatar, Lundin Oil Corp. of Sweden, Petronas of Malaysia, TotalFinaElf of France and Talisman Energy Corp. of Canada. The House action would force the companies off the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Several company representatives said they expected a less stringent measure from the House that would require them to report on their activities in Sudan as a condition of participating in US markets). David Mann, a spokesman for Talisman Energy, later said his lawyers' reading of the legislation was that it applied to companies actually operating in Sudan and not parent corporations such as Talisman. Talisman owns a Dutch subsidiary, which owns a share of Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., which operates oil fields in Sudan. Mann argued that his company was pushing for positive change in Sudan and might be replaced by less helpful interests if it pulled out. He added: "Talisman's leaving does not stop oil production in Sudan (which now exceeds 220,000 b/d). We play a role in trying to improve the situation there. We're building clinics and hospitals. Tens of thousands of southern Sudanese have benefited from clean drinking water, education and medicine directly because of Talisman being there". (During a visit to Africa in late May, US Secretary of State Powell pledged to seek an end to the conflict. He announced the first US food aid to drought victims in the government-controlled north since 1989. The House bill requires Powell to submit an annual report on the conflict that notes whether humanitarian relief has been manipulated by the government, the extent of aerial bombardments by the government, and the status of Sudan's financing and construction of oil pipelines and facilities).
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6SUDA
Date:Jun 16, 2001
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