Monday, April 23, 2007

Rolls-Royce withdrawing from Sudan

Source: CNN, April 19, 2007.

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Britain's Rolls-Royce Plc will withdraw from doing business in Sudan, it said on Thursday, citing concerns about the crisis in Darfur.

"We have decided to discontinue our business there. ... We will progressively withdraw from support activities," said a spokesman for Rolls-Royce, which makes equipment used to pump oil by companies such as Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company.

"The reason for this is the increasing political and humanitarian concerns in Sudan. ... We are not in Darfur, but we are in the country," the spokesman said.

The move comes amid fresh pressure on Sudan to accept an enhanced peacekeeping force in Darfur to supplement an African Union mission that has been unable to stem years of violence.

On Wednesday, President George W. Bush warned Sudan's president he had one last chance to take steps to stop violence in Darfur or else the United States would impose sanctions and consider other punitive options.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the United States and the United Kingdom were set to begin discussions with partners on the U.N. Security Council on a new resolution on Sudan.

But U.N. ambassadors from Russia, China and South Africa told reporters in New York on Wednesday they did not believe the time for sanctions was right after Sudan agreed this week to let in some 3,000 extra peacekeepers.

Khartoum has balked at a proposed force of more than 20,000 African Union and U.N. troops and police to supplement 7,000-some African Union peacekeepers in Darfur.

At least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes since 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government charging neglect.

The government responded with airstrikes and by arming militias to put down the rebellion. Those militias have been accused of abuses the United States has called genocide.

The Rolls-Royce spokesman said the company's operations in Sudan represented "a small percentage" of its marine business, which had sales of 1.3 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) last year accounting for 18 percent of Rolls-Royce's overall business.

He said there would be no need for Rolls to revise its financial guidance as a result of the withdrawal from Sudan.

Rolls-Royce, which was long famous for making luxury cars, now produces aircraft and ship engines as well as equipment used in the oil sector.

3000 more 'troops' is a joke. The 'troops' they have there now are not permitted to interfere with anyone raping, torturing, murdering or enslaving the citizens there now. What is 3000 more watchers going to do? This is disgusting.


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