Cablegate: Sudanese Officials React to U.S. Economic Sanctions
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P 051104Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
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TAGS: PREL PGOV EFIN ECON EAID SU
SUBJECT: SUDANESE OFFICIALS REACT TO U.S. ECONOMIC SANCTIONS
1. (U) SUMMARY: Many Sudanese officials have quickly and publicly
responded to the May 29 announcement of tightening U.S. economic
sanctions on Sudan. Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir stated that
he believes the sanctions will most dramatically affect the Sudanese
poor. Others, such as Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President of
the Government of National Unity and President of the Government of
Southern Sudan (GoSS), criticized the economic sanctions and stated
that they will not help achieve peace in Darfur, but will only harm
Sudanese citizens in other parts of the country. While uniformly
pessimistic, responses focus on varying themes such as Sudanese
resilience and defiance, the sanctions' alleged negative impact on
humanitarian efforts and the poor, and the timing of the
announcement. END SUMMARY.
1. (U) All remarks are taken from four Sudanese Arabic newspapers
from May 30 to June 2: Al-Ayaam, Akbar Lahza, Al-Sharia' Al-Siasi:
2. (U) President Al-Bashir stated that the US economic sanctions
actually target Sudanese citizens. He declared that most of the
companies added to the sanctions list are agricultural and have no
relation to Darfur. He added that sanctions have also caused great
damage to many U.S. companies, especially in the oil and mining
sectors. He commented that the Government of Sudan has replaced
these American companies with Asian firms.
3. (U) First Vice President Kiir, criticized the economic sanctions
and stated that they will not help achieve peace in Darfur, but will
only harm Sudanese citizens in other parts of the country.
4. (U) Dr. Magzoub El-Khalifa, President Bashir's advisor and the
chair of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) Implementation Commission,
stated that the GoS will not bow to U.S. sanctions. He added that
Sudan will contact its friends to overcome the sanctions' effects.
He commented that the sanctions will have a negative impact on the
DPA and that they may hamper the upcoming negotiations between
Darfur rebels, the AU, and the UN.
5. (U) Mohamed Ali El-Mardi, Minister of Justice, described the
sanctions as unfair. He added that President Bush is trying to
divert U.S. citizens' attention from his failure in Iraq and the
casualties of U.S. soldiers there.
6. (U) Abdel Rahim Hamdi, Ex-Minister of Finance and National
Economy and the National Congress Party (NCP) economic advisor
described the sanctions as fragile and merely a political
distraction. He stated that the sanctions will have no impact on
Sudan's economy, hinting that there have been no financial
transactions between Sudan and the U.S. since 1997. He stated that
most of the targeted companies are privately owned. For example,
El-Sunut Development Co. is owned by the agent of Coca-Cola in Sudan
and 70% of SUDATEL, AAAID, and GIAD companies are owned by
expatriates. Hamdi further noted that sanctions do not include the
Chinese or Malaysian oil companies.
7. (U) Dr. Izz El-Din Ibrahim, Ex-State Minister of the Ministry of
Finance and National Economy, stated that the sanctions are merely a
renewal of the previous economic sanctions instituted in 1997.
8. (U) Bader El-Din Mahmmoud Abbas, Deputy Governor of the Central
Bank of Sudan (CBOS), stated that U.S. sanctions are not new. He
added that because sanctions were imposed by the U.S. alone, they
will not hamper Sudan's economy. In his opinion, the sanctions are a
psychological tactic for prompting greater divestment from Sudan.
He stated that the CBOS is exploring options for using a currency
other than the U.S. dollar for international commercial
9. (U) Dr. Ahmed El-Magzoub, State Minister at the Ministry of
Finance, and Ms. Nagat Mohamed Salih, Undersecretary of the Ministry
of Foreign Trade, stated that sanctions will not have any impact on
10. (U) Dr. Babiker M. Tom, Deputy Chairman of the Economic
Committee, National Assembly, criticized the U.S. sanctions and
described them as unfair. He opined that the sanctions will likely
have more of a symbolic or psychological effect than an economic
one, since Sudan has not had commercial ties with the U.S. since
11. (U) Hashim El-Bashir of the Sudanese Workers Trade Union
Federation (SWTUF) criticized the sanctions and stated that Sudan
will not bow or kneel to the U.S.
12. (U) COMMENT: The sanctions' effect on the poor, the perceived
ill-timing of the announcement, and the call for Sudanese resilience
are all different themes running through these remarks. Many
Sudanese politicians have questioned the efficacy of sanctions on
Sudan, its effect on the Darfur Peace Agreement, and its relation to
the war in Iraq. Public Diplomacy efforts highlighting the U.S.
contribution to Sudanese humanitarian relief and development may
provide a resource for countering some of the positions espoused
above. END COMMENT.