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Oil Firm to Sell Stake in Sudan Over Criticism

November 09, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Talisman Energy Inc., a Canadian oil firm, has bowed to pressure from Christian organizations and human rights activists and agreed to sell its stake in a Sudanese oil project.

World Vision and other Christian groups were leaders of an international campaign to push Talisman to leave Sudan. The groups have claimed that the company has been generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Sudan's Muslim-led government, which they accuse of widespread human-rights abuses against non-Muslims.

Talisman's chief executive officer, Jim Buckee, said the company could no longer support the pressure its Sudan operations put on its resources and share price.

"It was time to turn the page," he said.

"Every newspaper mention of Talisman was qualified under 'involved in Sudan.' We hope to move on from that instant association."

Buckee maintained that the Muslim government's exposure to a democratic perspective and its engagement in the world economy through oil exports forced it to use some restraint in its civil war against rebels in Sudan's oil-rich southern region, most of whom are animists or Christians.

But, despite financing many schools and hospital beds in Sudan, Talisman Energy became a lightning rod. Critics who have dogged the company for more than three years, urging a boycott of its shares, praised the news as a triumph for human rights.

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