Thursday, November 17, 2005

Darfur this week 11/17/2005

This week in Sudan:
The focus of the debate on how best to secure peace in Darfur shifted to China this week, as President Bush began a trip to Asia which will include a stop in Beijing this Saturday.

As Sudan’s largest trading partner and closest ally on the U.N. Security Council, China is in a unique position to influence the Sudanese government’s policies. The Save Darfur Coalition sent a letter to President Bush on Monday calling on him to make Sudan a topic of discussion during his meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The letter coincided with an Op-Ed published in the Washington Times, and a letter to the editor published in the New York Times on the same subject. China, meanwhile, took care to reaffirm its friendship with Sudan.

In Sudan, the people of Darfur received some good news this week, as it was announced that all 105 armored personnel carriers donated by Canada to the African Union forces in Darfur would at long last be released to the AU peacekeepers. The vehicles should drastically improve mobility, one of the areas they are especially deficient, according to former U.N. force commander Romeo Dallaire, who headed up U.N. military forces during the Rwandan genocide. The additional security will surely come in handy as divisions within the SLA rebel group deepen over the recent election of Minni Minawi as SLA Chairman.

Back in the U.S., several colleges and universities took steps this past week to boycott business who trade with Sudan. Dartmouth College voted to divest its interests from six companies with close ties to the Sudanese government, following on the heels of Harvard and Stanford Universities, which had already divested their interests from Sudan. The Regents of the University of California system, which is comprised of 10 schools and carries and investment portfolio of upwards of $4 billion, also took steps towards a fiscal boycott. Their final decision will not be reached until January, when the measure is expected to receive an up or down vote.

Articles Referenced Above:
Strategic Forecasting Report on the Sino-Sudan Connection Provided by Strategic Forecasting, Inc. - 11/08/2005
Save Darfur Coalition letter to President Bush Save Darfur Coalition - 11/14/2005
Human rights opportunity for Bush Washington Times – 11/14/2005
The President's Trip to Asia NY Times - 11/14/2005
China Ready to Deepen Relations with Sudan Xinhua News Agency – 11/15/2005
Darfur peacekeepers vehicle boost BBC – 11/16/2005
U.N.'s Rwanda Commander Sees Darfur NY Times – 11/16/2005
Withdraw support from the despot of Darfur The Daily Star - 11/15/2005
Dartmouth to avoid firms that have ties to Sudan Concord Monitor – 11/15/2005
UC panel wants Sudan investments dropped Monterey Herald – 11/15/2005

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