Defense of Sudan Oil Pumping Is "Corporate Rubbish"

Talisman Energy, Inc., of Canada-which owns 25 per cent of Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., producing 45,900 barrels of oil from South Sudan wells daily-says it is acting in accordance with accepted standards of ethics.

But Stephen Lewis, Canada's former United Nations ambassador who has worked extensively in Africa with UNICEF over the past decade, dismissed Talisman's claim as "corporate rubbish." "The greatest question of all, which is never touched, is how Talisman can justify having the profits from its oil production used to fuel the worst war in the world today," Lewis said. "The money which Talisman is putting into the coffers of the government is being used to drive the war."

Meanwhile, Catholic theologian Hilary Boma, who was incarcerated in solitary confinement for nine months in North Sudan during 1998 and 1999, urged Western nations to condemn the war waged by the Islamic central government in Khartoum against the non-Muslim minorities in the south "even if this would affect oil imports." They should also halt all weapon exports to Sudan, he said.

In the opinion of the Sudanese rulers, only the powerful Arabs are entitled to human rights, and not the black Africans, said Boma They regard Christians not as human beings, but as "animals or dogs," he said.