Swede Accused of Conflict of Interest Over Sudan

U.N. Mediator Is on Board of Oil Firm Backing Khartoum

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, MAR. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- An international U.N. mediator has been discovered to be a board director of one of the oil companies accused of financing the Khartoum government, which is waging a brutal campaign against non-Muslims in southern Sudan.

On Friday, the British agency Christian Aid accused former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, a U.N. mediator in the Balkans, of being a member of the board of directors of Lundin Oil, a Swedish company that has interests in Sudan.

According to Christian Aid and other humanitarian organizations, one of the objectives of the Khartoum-led war is the exploitation of the new oil fields in southern Sudan. The war has claimed 2 million lives.

Combonian missionaries in Sudan recently complained that oil revenue is helping to finance the government´s atrocities, which include the bombings of Christian schools and humanitarian aid centers.

Lundin Oil defended itself by saying that while it contributes to Sudan´s economic development, the company has never violated human rights. For his part, Carl Bildt wrote the Swedish press that his presence on the oil company´s board must be regarded as a mission of peace, and that it is his job to ensure that the firm adopts the U.N.´s and Amnesty International´s code of conduct.

Last May 3, Amnesty International published an alarming study on the situation in Sudan, reporting mass deportations and massacres, and severely criticizing Lundin Oil´s role. On May 4, the very next day, Bildt accepted the job as a director of the Swedish company.

Swedish Prime Minister Göran Person called on Bildt to «make a clear distinction between your two jobs, and convince yourself that they are irreconcilable.»

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