By: Wasil Ali
October 31, 2007 (Sudan Tribune)
The US department of Treasury issued a new rule revising the areas of Sudan covered by sanctions and recognizing the government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) as an entity separate from the Government of Sudan.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury which issued the rule late Wednesday justified its decision by saying that presidential executive order imposing sanctions had to be reconciled with the Darfur Peace and Accountability of 2006 that called for “support of the regional government of Southern Sudan”.
However the new rule upheld sanctions imposed on all transactions relating to Sudan’s petroleum or petrochemical industries even in Southern Sudan.
The rule exempts “all trade and related transactions and humanitarian assistance in specified areas of Sudan, including Southern Sudan, Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains State, Blue Nile State, Abyei, Darfur, and four official camps for internally displaced persons (Mayo, El Salaam, Wad El Bashir, and Soba) from the sanctions imposed on Sudan by Executive Order 13067 of November 3, 1997”.
The amendment exempts financial transactions and all shipments of goods, services, and technology as long as they do not transit non-exempt areas of Sudan or involve institutions owned by the government of Sudan.
However the rule provided for exceptions if imports or exports from South Sudan may transit non-exempt areas if the US Treasury grants prior approval.
The surprise announcement by the US comes amidst power crisis between the Southern ex-rebel group, Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the ruling National Congress party (NCP).
The SPLM decided to suspend their participation in the national unity government because of what they describe as the NCP’s failure to fully implement crucial elements of the peace agreement.
The latest move by the SPLM raised concern that the CPA that ended two decades of civil war between the Arab and Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist black southerners may unravel.
Late September the Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Pagan Amum said that Washington decided to exclude southern Sudan from sanctions imposed on Sudan since 1997.
Amum said that this decision was made following talks held by a southern delegation with US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Last May the US president George Bush ordered stiffened sanctions on Sudan that will bar 31 companies controlled by the government from doing business in the U.S. financial system as well as sanctions on four Sudanese individuals, including two senior Sudanese officials and a rebel leader suspected of involvement in the Darfur violence.
The 2005 peace agreement brokered by the US and other western countries ended two decades of civil war between the Arab and Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist black southerners.