DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable James P. McGovern
Sent By:
Cindy.Buhl@mail.house.gov

Current signatories – Jim McGovern, Randy Hultgren, Barbara Lee,
Tom Rooney, Michael Capuano, Trent Franks, Karen Bass, Gwen Moore, Pramila Jayapal, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Sheila Jackson Lee, Richard Neal, Joe Crowley, Raúl Grijalva, Peter Welch, Alcee Hastings,
Barbara Comstock, Daniel Donovan, Jr., Kyrsten Sinema, Cedric Richmond,
Glenn Grothman, Ted Lieu, Norma Torres, Barry Loudermilk, Ro Khanna,
Lou Barletta, David Cicilline, Sanford Bishop, Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Zoe Lofgren, Dwight Evans, Stephen Lynch,
Chris Stewart, Chellie Pingree, Betty McCollum,
Charles Dent, Robin Kelly,
Jan Schakowsky, Christopher Smith, Gus Bilirakis, Mark Pocan, Michael Doyle, Anna Eshoo, Steve Cohen, Donald Payne, Jr.

 

Join Bipartisan Letter

Delay Decision on Lifting Sudan Sanctions

DEADLINE – COB, FRIDAY, JUNE 30TH

 

Dear Colleague,

Shortly before leaving office, the Obama Administration put in place by Executive Order a process that allowed for the temporary relief of several sanctions imposed against the genocidal government of Sudan, headed by President Omar al-Bashir.
That process also left to President Trump the need to make a determination on or around July 12th either to provide permanent sanctions relief, re-impose all sanctions, or postpone a final determination until a later date.

We ask you to join us in sending a bipartisan letter to President Trump urging him to delay the determination on Sudan
until such time as officials have been appointed and taken up duties, especially at the State Department, who have the responsibility to review U.S.-Sudan policy, and until more conclusive evidence can be gathered and evaluated regarding the
conflict, human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground inside Sudan. 
Because of the imminent timeframe of the decision facing the Trump Administration, the deadline for joining this letter is COB this Friday, June 30th.

Under the current process, the decision regarding Sudan sanctions focuses on five areas key to U.S. intelligence, military, development, humanitarian and diplomatic interests:  (1) cooperation on counterterrorism; (2) cooperation in countering
the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); (3) cessation of hostilities in Sudan’s conflict areas; (4) ending support to South Sudanese armed actors; and (5) providing humanitarian access to populations in need.

While limiting an evaluation to those five tracks may not assess the full range of U.S. interests and concerns with Sudan, we strongly feel that there is a great deal we do not know about the situation on the ground inside Sudan, especially regarding
the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations and the cessation of hostilities and offensive operations in conflict areas.  Reliance on what the Government of Sudan allows U.S. officials to observe is simply inadequate.  Further,
Congress, in law, has consistently sought not just short-term cessations of hostilities, but a process that leads to a just and sustainable peace.

Some recent articles and resources that might interest you on this subject are:  from the Enough Project,
https://enoughproject.org/policy-briefs/july-deadline-wont-work; from Foreign Policy,

foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/20/sudan-hires-u-s-lobbyist-to-roll-back-sanctions/
; and from MSNBC, an interview with our former colleague, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Ryan Boyette, who has been working with the people in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan,

http://www.msnbc.com/for-the-record-with-greta/watch/will-trump-let-a-brutal-dictator-off-the-hook-969609283903.

We hope you will join us on this bipartisan letter.  To sign onto the letter, please contact Cindy Buhl (McGovern) at 5-6101 or
cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov or Jamie Staley (Hultgren) at
jamie.staley@mail.house.gov or 5-2976.
Deadline is COB, Friday, June 30th.

Sincerely,

James P. McGovern                                       Randy Hultgren

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

 

Barbara Lee                                                    Thomas J. Rooney

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

———————–

Dear Mr. President,

As you are aware, President Obama issued Executive Order 13761 in January, one week before your inauguration, which provides temporary relief from many U.S. sanctions against Sudan that have been in effect for 20 years.  On or around July 12,
2017, you are called upon to determine whether that temporary relief should continue or be made permanent.

We write to request that you delay lifting these sanctions for one year or until your administration has been able to fully staff the Department of State, National Security Council, and named a Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.  Once in place, this
team should more thoroughly review whether the Government of Sudan has abided by the requirements of the Executive Order.  At this point in time, we believe that the evidence is unavailable or inconclusive to reach a determination, in particular on the two
tracks that most affect the Sudanese people, namely unimpeded humanitarian access and cessation of hostilities.

The Executive Order requires progress from Sudan on five tracks of U.S.-Sudan engagement.  We are particularly concerned about progress – or lack thereof – on three of the tracks: Sudan’s commitment to a cessation of hostilities, unimpeded humanitarian access
to regions under siege by the Sudan Armed Forces, and cooperation on counterterrorism.  There has been substantial fighting in Darfur in recent months, including evidence of targeting of civilians by Sudanese forces and their affiliated militias and, as expected,
no humanitarian access has been granted to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

While the government of Sudan may seem cooperative on counterterrorism efforts, we believe they continue regularly scheduled support for violent non-state armed groups, like the former combatants of the Islamist group, Seleka, as well as other similar armed
actors operating in northern and central Africa, the Middle East and neighboring countries.

Let us not forget that Sudan housed Osama bin Laden and was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda’s bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 and the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. To reward Sudan with this prize will reflect on American credibility
and resolve to confront the perpetrators of war crimes and sponsors of terrorism.  It should be an action taken very carefully and only after thorough, objective review.

Should the U.S. allow sanctions relief to become permanent in July, we are deeply concerned that Sudan will continue to expand its financial and logistical support to illegal armed groups on the African continent – something that certainly represents a threat
to our national security and interests on that continent.

The Sudan government has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Over the past thirty years, President Omar al-Bashir has presided over the murder and violent displacement of millions of Sudanese people. Since June 2011, the Sudanese
government has targeted civilians in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State by dropping over 5,000 thousand bombs on innocent people in villages, schools, hospitals and churches. In addition, the Sudanese President and two of his top officials are
wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur.  This gives Bashir the dubious distinction of being the only sitting head of state to ever be indicted for war crimes.

While we welcome stronger US engagement with Sudan, relieving Sudan of sanctions – without having a new phase of engagement in place, along with new, targeted pressures – will not increase our leverage but rather weaken it while empowering a
genocidal regime with additional capacity to acquire more military equipment, train more soldiers to commit more war crimes and further its support for groups like the ex-Seleka. We need look no further than the regime’s demolition of two Christian churches
in Khartoum this year, and their plan to bulldoze at least 27 more. This is state-sanctioned persecution of Christians and the denial of freedom of religion –something the original sanctions imposed by Executive Order since 1997 were designed to target. Before
the announcement of a cease-fire by the Sudan government last year, ostensibly in response to the five-track process, the Sudan military took over several large farming areas in the conflict zones, in order to strategically starve the besieged civilian population.
US sanctions were imposed for the purpose of curbing actions such as these, and changes to policy and the sanctions regimen must ensure that they do not condone or institutionalize them, let alone reward them.

Further, it is troubling that we have seen both little change in the behavior of the Sudanese government and no indication that its behavior is likely to change if sanctions are lifted. For 30 years, this regime has manipulated the international community
by pausing violence when it sees a benefit in doing so. However, these periods during which military attacks against civilians decrease have never become permanent.  More time is needed to assess whether the current diminishment (it is not a cessation) of
offensive military operations is permanent or merely a strategic ceasefire which benefits the regime.

By delaying the July 12th deadline, the U.S. government will ensure it has the proper personnel in place and the time and resources to review Sudan’s compliance with the executive order. Ultimately, such a review will pave the way for a more constructive
relationship with Sudan that is in the best interest of the United States and the long-suffering people of Sudan.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

 

cc:       The Honorable Michael R. Pence, Vice President of the United States

The Honorable Rex Wayne Tillerson, Secretary of State of the United States

The Honorable Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury

The Honorable Wade Warren, Acting Administrator, United States Agency for International Development

 

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