- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Almost six weeks ago, President Bush outlined the U.S. response to continued noncompliance by the Sudanese government to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, but at the request of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Bush did not impose tougher economic sanctions or any other aspect of the plan he laid out. Mr. Ban wanted more time for diplomacy, but what he saw as a small positive step by Sudan gave way to more stonewalling, and Mr. Bush announced yesterday that the United States would move ahead.

The United States will better enforce existing sanctions against Sudan’s government, add 30 Sudanese government-run companies, along with one other company, to the list of proscribed businesses and place sanctions on specific individuals connected to the violence. The fact that the United States is taking action is a welcome development, even if the effects will be modest.

“For too long, the people of Darfur have suffered at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder, and rape of innocent civilians,” Mr. Bush said yesterday. “My administration has called these actions by their rightful name: genocide. The world has a responsibility to help put an end to it.”

Mr. Bush also announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would work with “the United Kingdom and other allies” to draw up a new Security Council Resolution that would include sanctions against both individuals and the governments of Sudan, and an “expanded” embargo on the sale of weapons to the Sudanese government. What Darfur needs, however, isn’t so much a new resolution as adequate enforcement of current resolutions.

The United Nations already has in place an arms embargo, passed in March 2005, that applies to “all parties of the conflict,” but is routinely flouted by the Sudanese government and the states, including China and Russia, that supply it weapons. None of this is news: groups from Amnesty International to the U.N.’s own Panel of Experts on Darfur have reported on the flagrancy of these violations.

The other problem with pursuing another U.N. resolution, also well known, is that any resolution tough enough to make a difference in Darfur will find strong opposition from China, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council with substantial investment in Sudan’s oil resources.

The EU, for one, seems amendable to tougher sanctions, but hardly inclined to show any real backbone on the issue. Javier Solana, the EU’s top foreign policy minister, said yesterday that “in principle, we are open to consider” new sanctions. Angela Merkel has talked a tougher line. The German chancellor whose is currently president of the EU supports new Security Council action if an agreement on a African Union-U.N. “hybrid” force could not be worked out, but she also said after meeting with Mr. Bush in April that “we need to do everything we can in order to help the people [in Darfur] on the ground.”

While pursuing a tougher U.N. resolution, the EU should expand and better enforce its own sanctions. If Russian reticence can be overcome, the forthcoming Group of 8 (G8) Summit in Germany presents an opportunity to show Sudan and its enablers in Beijing a united opposition to the genocide in Darfur.

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