President Bush signs Darfur Peace and Accountability Act

Issues executive order blocking Khartoum's property and transactions

By Carrie Loewenthal, Washington File Special Correspondent

Washington -- President Bush signed into law October 13 the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 (DPAA) and issued an executive order "blocking property of and prohibiting transactions with the Government of Sudan."

The DPAA imposes sanctions against "persons responsible for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; supports measures for the protection of civilians and humanitarian operations; and supports peace efforts in the Darfur region of Sudan," a White House statement says.

The president's executive order, which takes effect upon the enactment of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, specifically forbids transactions relating to Sudan's petroleum and petrochemical industries, sectors in which the president noted that "the Government of Sudan has a pervasive role" that poses a "threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

In a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate, Bush notes that "the Government of Sudan continues to implement policies and actions that violate human rights, in particular with respect to the conflict in Darfur, where the Government of Sudan exercises administrative and legal authority and pervasive practical influence."

The executive order extends the sanctions already in place but exempts from the prohibitions certain areas in Sudan, including Southern Sudan, Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains State, Blue Nile State, Abyei, Darfur and marginalized areas in and around Khartoum, "provided that the activities or transactions do not involve any property or interests in property of the Government of Sudan," the president said.

The DPAA and the executive order do not limit or restrict humanitarian aid to Darfur. The United States has provided more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan, including $400 million during the past 12 months, for emergency food aid to the region. (See related article.)

The United States has been calling for a swift U.N. action to stop the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. On October 2, speaking with U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Andrew Natsios President Bush said the United Nations "should not wait any longer to approve a blue-helmeted force, a U.N. force of peacekeepers, to protect the innocent people." He also characterized the "suffering and deprivation" of the people of Darfur as genocide. (See related article.)

The peacekeeping mission in Darfur is currently lead by the African Union (AU), which has stated it is unable to continue the effort. In August, the Security Council authorized the expansion of the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) -- which supports the implementation of Sudan's Peace Agreement of 2005 -- by 20,000 troops and police to take over peacekeeping duties in Darfur from the AU. However, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been refusing to accept the transition.

The United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 people have died in the Darfur region of Sudan since 2003. Close to 2 million others were displaced into refugee camps in the province and in eastern Chad.

The full texts of the president's executive order on Sudan and his letter to the speaker of the House and the President of the Senate are available on the White House Web site.

For additional information, see Darfur Humanitarian Emergency.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: