Canada

U.S. criticizes Talisman-Sudan report

Talisman Energy says a federal report on oil exploration in Sudan is a "very positive" step. But human rights groups and the U.S. government say it's an outrage.

The report says the Calgary-based oil company's operations are prolonging Sudan's civil war. But it stops short of recommending sanctions against Talisman.

A spokesman for the U.S. state department, James Rubin, says Talisman's development project has "provided a new source of hard currency for a regime that has been responsible for massive human-rights abuses and sponsoring terrorism outside Sudan."

The report, by special envoy John Harker, says the oil industry is inflaming Sudan's 17-year civil war and he says Talisman has ignored human rights abuses in the African country.

Company president Jim Buckee says Talisman will strive to "observe a high standard of ethical behaviour within its sphere of influence."

He says the company is trying to establish a monitoring system in its area of operations and to measure the impact of its operations.

Talisman, which is in partnership with the Sudanese government, has a 25 per cent stake in the oil field project.

The company's stock rose $2.20 after investors learned that Ottawa wouldn't be imposing sanctions.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy commissioned the Harker report.

Mel Middleton of Freedom Quest International, a human rights group, called Ottawa's response "a knife in the back to the victims of Sudan's brutal war."