Casey Presses Administration On Lack Of Progress In Darfur

WASHINGTON, DC - At a Foreign Relations Committee hearing this morning, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) questioned Ambassador Andrew Natsios, the President's Special Envoy to Sudan about the Bush Administration's policy to bring an end to the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

"People are getting frustrated because they don't get a sense that there's any movement, that there's any progress," said Casey.

At the hearing, Senator Casey expressed his strong support for the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 which would protect state and local government that prohibit the investment of their assets in companies which operate in Sudan. The legislation also recognizes that nongovernmental organizations working in Sudan on humanitarian efforts or companies that are operating under federal permit or to promote health or religious activities should not be classified as supporting the Sudanese government.

"I strongly support the Sudan Divestment Act," said Casey. "The Bush Administration talks about strategies, they talk about approaches and they receive attention for a couple of days. But we really need to create some pressure on companies who are making investment decisions or decisions about capital. This bill will create that pressure."

Senator Casey questioned Ambassador Natsios on what the Bush Administration's position is on this important legislation and on the broader issue of divestment. Ambassador Natsios replied that there is little support in the Administration for such measures. His response is the clearest position taken by the Bush Administration to date on whether or not it supports a divestment campaign in Sudan.

"I am extremely disappointed to hear Ambassador Natsios say that the Administration opposes divestment efforts," said Casey. "We saw twenty years ago in South Africa, the power that a focused divestment campaign can have in pressuring a foreign government to end despicable policies. We need to do our part and ensure that American taxpayer dollars are not directly or indirectly supporting the ongoing genocide in Darfur."

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