Bush announces sanctions against Sudan

President pressures the African nation's government in an effort to stop Darfur violence; United States will also seek sanctions via the United Nations.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush imposed sanctions Tuesday against Sudan in reaction to the violence in Darfur, and has ordered actions against 31 companies and three people - preventing them from doing business in the United States or with U.S. companies.

The three Sudanese people affected include two high-ranking government officials and a rebel leader, according to the Treasury Department. They were targeted "for their roles in fomenting violence and human rights abuses in Darfur," the agency said.

"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."

"My administration has called these actions by their rightful name, genocide. The world has a responsibility to help put an end to it," Bush said.

Bush said he had ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to create a draft resolution that will be presented to the U.N. Security Council, in an effort to convince the body to impose U.N. sanctions on the country.

Bush intended to announce the sanctions last month in a speech at the Holocaust Museum in Washington but held off to give the United Nations and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir more time to try to resolve the situation.

Bush and other top U.S. officials have grown impatient with Bashir's reluctance to stop attacks by Arab militias widely believed to be supported by the government. The largest of these groups is known as the Janjaweed.

Attacks by the militias and rebel groups in the Darfur region of western Sudan have killed more than 200,000 people and driven about 2 million from their homes.

The Treasury Department issued a statement immediately after Bush's announcement, saying that, as of Tuesday, the agency had blocked the assets of the three Sudanese.

"Even in the face of sanctions, these individuals have continued to play direct roles in the terrible atrocities of Darfur," said Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. "We are working to call attention to their horrific acts and further isolate them from the international community."

The Treasury also acted Tuesday to sanction 30 Sudanese companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan, and one company that has violated the arms embargo in Darfur.

"These companies have supplied cash to the Bashir regime, enabling it to purchase arms and further fuel the fighting in Darfur," added Paulson.

"By denying these companies access to the U.S. and international financial system, we will make it harder for the Government of Sudan to pursue its deadly agenda."

The sanctions affect companies owned or controlled by the government of Sudan, with the exception of the Azza Air Transport Company, accused of transferring small arms, ammunition and artillery to government forces and Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

Among the other 30 companies are GIAD Industrial City, which has supplied armored vehicles to the Sudanese government for military operations in Darfur; Sudatel, the national telecommunications company; and five firms in the petrochemical sector, including Advanced Petroleum Company, RAM Energy Company, Bashaier, Hi-Tech Petroleum Group, and Hi-Tech Chemicals.

The Treasury designations order that any assets these individuals and entities may have that are within U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen, and U.S. citizens are prohibited from transacting or doing business with them.

One of the three individuals named Tuesday, Ahmad Muhammed Harun, Sudan's state minister for humanitarian affairs, has been accused of war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court in the The Hague.

Sudan's head of military intelligence and security, Awad Ibn Auf, was also designated Tuesday, along with Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, a rebel group that has refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement, the Treasury Department said.

Tuesday's action brings to seven the number of Sudanese individuals for whom access to the U.S. financial system is prohibited, according to the Treasury agency.

Fighting between the government of Sudan, the Janjaweed and splintered rebel groups has continued unabated in Sudan, despite the signing of the African Union-brokered Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006.

The United States first imposed sanctions on the Sudanese government in 1997.

-- CNN National Correspondent Kathleen Koch contributed to this report Top of page