Rolls-Royce Pulls Business Out Of Sudan On 'Humanitarian Concerns'

Company won't pursue new business and will discontinue current business.

Rolls-Royce said on April 19 that it will withdraw from Sudan, citing "increasing international humanitarian concerns" in the violence-scarred region of Darfur.

"Rolls-Royce will immediately cease to pursue any new business in that country and it will progressively withdraw support arising from previously signed contracts," a Rolls-Royce spokesman said April 19.

Operations in Sudan amounted to a "very small percentage" of total company revenues, according to the spokesman. Rolls-Royce supplies diesel engines to oil and gas companies operating pipelines in the country, he added.

Britain-based campaign body Sudan Divestment UK welcomed the announcement from the aerospace group which is listed on London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies. "Rolls-Royce's recognition of the genocide in Darfur and the role of multinational corporations in the continued atrocities, is to be applauded and it is a stark challenge to other companies whose operations are helping fuel the world's worst humanitarian crisis," said Hamish Falconer, director of Sudan Divestment UK.

The campaign group, which was founded last November, aims to strangle that flow of money by targeting foreign firms that support Sudan's oil-dominated industry as well as the savers and pension funds that finance them."Rolls-Royce has sent a message to Khartoum that there is an economic cost for committing genocide," said Falconer.

Sudan's government faced fresh pressure this week to allow international forces into strife-torn Darfur, with Washington and London threatening new UN sanctions to force Khartoum's hand. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said April 18 that the new UN sanctions would seek to pressure Sudan to allow international forces into Darfur as well as impose sanctions against individuals responsible for violence there.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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