“Talisman Energy’s Business Partner, the Government of Sudan”–There’s nothing figurative about the phrase
The same Government of Sudan that was today excoriated by Lloyd Axworthy and the Canadian Foreign Ministry for bombing civilians and humanitarian relief efforts is, quite literally, Talisman’s business partner.
Eric Reeves [August 10, 2000]
Smith College email@example.com
Northampton, MA 01063
Perhaps there are shareholders who wish to hold Talisman’s peculiar view of oil development in Sudan: that somehow the Greater Nile project in the south of the country is for, and by consent of, the entire country.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Talisman is a 25% partner in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. Sudapet, the state-owned Sudanese oil company, is a 5% partner. And *all* contracts giving Talisman a presence in the Greater Nile project are with the Government of Sudan—the brutal regime in Khartoum—even as all revenues from the oil project go completely unencumbered to this Government of Sudan. The Government of Sudan is free to pursue its policy of purchasing ever more deadly and destructive military aircraft, for further assaults on civilians and humanitarian relief.
And just what has the Government of Sudan being doing recently? Here’s Lloyd Axworthy’s comment of today (given the tenor of his remarks, it’s not unreasonable to think that as a parting shot on retirement he’ll impose sanctions on Talisman!):
“I am particularly shocked by the [Government of Sudan] military’s systematic targeting of civilians and relief organizations, which will only increase the number of casualties in this conflict and compound the suffering of the Sudanese people.”
Minister for International Co-operation Maria Minna also weighed in:
“The hindering of aid is in direct violation of international humanitarian law and the deliberate bombing of aid operations is even more offensive considering [the Government of] Sudan approved these aid agencies working in the country. It is shameful that in this war-torn country, aid is being targeted and prevented from reaching the people in need.”
And as the bombs continue to rain down on humanitarian relief efforts (forcing Kofi Annan to suspend Operation Lifeline on Tuesday [Aug 8]), the UN’s World Food Program, a key part of Operation Lifeline Sudan, has this to say about the Government of Sudan, Talisman Energy’s business partner (source: the BBC):
“The World Food Program has condemned the attacks as totally unacceptable, and said they came just days after the Khartoum government had repeatedly assured aid agencies that relief workers would not be targeted.”
What are the consequences of Talisman’s business partner, the Government of Sudan, bombing civilian targets? The shutdown of Operation Lifeline Sudan, because of the insecurity created by these attacks, puts 1 million nutritionally and medically distressed human beings beyond the reach of relief efforts. Thousands will certainly die; perhaps tens of thousands; conceivably many tens of thousands, with innocent women and children disproportionately the victims.
And what is it like when Talisman’s business partner sends a bomber against defenseless civilian targets? There have been so many such attacks—on the Red Cross, on Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, among many others—that it’s difficult to single out any one bombing.
But reports on the bombings this week at Tonj and Mapel (the attacks on Mapel triggered the suspension of Operation Lifeline Sudan) give some sense of the carnage scattered over southern Sudan. On Tuesday (Aug 8), Reuters reported on the Government of Sudan’s Russian-built Antonov bombers circling over the towns of Tonj and Mapel in Bahr el-Ghazal, dropping more than a dozen bombs on each location. According to the SPLA/M (which has been highly accurate in their reports, which have been repeatedly confirmed by humanitarian relief organizations), 8 people were killed in Mapel. 200 people were badly injured; a number are not expected to live. 10 were killed at Tonj. The bombs lands in the midst of a market place in Mapel. There was a school for 1000 children nearby in Mapel.
These facts have been confirmed by many reporting organizations.
This is Talisman Energy’s business partner, the Government of Sudan. Their callous, murderously complicit relationship cannot be ignored by investors who have the most basic moral filter on their investments.
And what’s the response of Talisman’s business partner to all this? An AFP wire report says it all:
“Humanitarian aid chief [sic!] Sulaf Eddin Salih told AFP Wednesday (Aug 9) that the government conducts military operations ‘away from positions of the humanitarian activities; not a single plane or a humanitarian site was hit.'”
But despite such outrageous prevarication, Talisman’s business partnership with the Khartoum regime is about to become highlighted once again. Who’s reporting on the savage bombing of civilians and humanitarian relief by Talisman’s Khartoum partners? Suddenly, the answer is: “A lot of people!”—-
*Financial Times (London), August 10, 2000
*The Independent (London), August 10, 2000
*Reuters (continual wire reports, picked up by newspapers around the world)
*Agence France-Presse (AFP) (again, continual wire reports, picked up around the world)
*Associated Press (multiple wire reports)
*New York Times (article forthcoming)
*The Montreal Gazette, August 8, 2000
Press releases from:
*Canadian Foreign Ministry
*US State Department
*US Committee for Refugees
*Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
*Various arms of the United Nations, including the Secretary General and UN Integrated Regional Information Network
*Sudan Catholic Information Office
And as cosignatories to a condemnation of Talisman’s business partner, the following nongovernmental organizations working with the distressed populations of southern Sudan:
*Jason Matus (Advisor, Nuba Food Security Group)
*Norwegian Peoples Aid
*Nuba Relief Rehabilitation and Development Organisation