President Bush is threatening tougher economic and military sanctions against Sudan if it does not follow through on promises to improve security in the troubled Darfur region, where more than 200,000 people have died. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
President Bush says he has heard a lot of promises from Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
"Unfortunately, these agreements have been routinely violated," he said. "Sudan's government has moved arms to Darfur, conducted bombing raids on villages. They've used military vehicles and aircraft that are painted white, which makes them look like those deployed by humanitarian agencies and peacekeeping forces."
Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Mr. Bush says the status quo in Sudan must not continue.
"President Bashir's record has been to promise cooperation while finding new ways to subvert and obstruct the U.N.'s efforts to bring peace to his country," he added. "The time for promises is over. President Bashir must act."
President Bush says President Bashir has one last chance to meet what he calls the just demands of the international community. Mr. Bush says the Sudanese leader must follow through on this week's promise to allow the deployment of 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers.
President Bush says Sudan must stop supporting militiamen, reach out to rebels, allow relief aid to reach those in need, and facilitate the full deployment of a 20,000-strong U.N.-Africa Union peacekeeping force.
President Bush says President Bashir has a short period of time to stop what he calls a pattern of obstruction. If he does not, Mr. Bush says, the U. S. Treasury Department will bar from the U.S. financial system 29 companies owned or controlled by the government of Sudan, making it a crime for Americans to do business with them.
He says Washington will also seek a U.N. resolution applying new sanctions against Khartoum and individuals responsible for violence, proposing an expanded embargo on arms sales and prohibiting any offensive military flights over Darfur.
Imposing a no-fly zone would be a major escalation of military intervention in the region where 7,000 African peacekeepers have failed to stop four years of violence that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than 2 million civilians.
Most of the international community blames Khartoum for backing Arab militiamen who have targeted civilians. But the government denies involvement in these attacks and says it is local rebels who are responsible for the violence.
President Bush says rebels have contributed to the instability, killing civilians, stealing supplies, and adding to the region's lawlessness.