Yesterday, President Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, which makes it easier for “states, local governments and private investors to cut investment ties with Sudan as a way to pressure the Khartoum government into ending violence in the country’s Darfur region.” Both the House and the Senate passed the bill unanimously.
Bush has claimed an intense interest and outrage at the situation in Sudan, going so far as to call killings in Darfur “genocide” in 2005. Yet his signature on the legislation yesterday was accompanied by a signing statement, in which he reserved the right to “overrule” divestment decisions if they conflict with administration foreign policy. The New York Times notes:
But the administration has expressed reservations about the bill, and Mr. Bush’s signature was accompanied by a proviso known as a signing statement, in which he said he was reserving the authority to overrule state and local divestment decisions if they conflicted with foreign policy. The statement said the measure “risks being interpreted as insulating” state and local divestment actions from federal oversight.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration’s foreign policy hasn’t always put pressure on Sudan. In May, the State Department released its 2006 terrorism report, in which it called Sudan a “strong partner in the War on Terror“:
The Sudanese government was a strong partner in the War on Terror and aggressively pursued terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Darfur, and 2.5 million more have been forced to flee their homes. Twenty-two states and more than fifty universities have already “passed divestment measures from problematic companies in Sudan.”