Russian Weapons Supplier to Syrian Regime Linked to U.S. Defense Dept.

(Washington, D.C.) United to End Genocide called today on Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, to suspend all contracts with Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-owned arms dealer that supplies the Assad regime with weapons it has been using to attack its own people. Thousands of its members and those of allied organizations have launched a campaign demanding that Secretary Panetta immediately cut ties with the Russian firm. The Department of Defense contracts directly conflict with and undermine U.S. policy on Syria where the United Nations estimates that at least 7,500 Syrians have died at the hands of their government’s military. Earlier this year, according to research by United to End Genocide and Human Rights First, the Pentagon signed a contract worth $375 million with Rosoboronexport. Reportedly, this U.S. contract comes with an option for $550 million in additional purchases, raising the total value of the contract to nearly $1 billion. Recent reports from human rights monitoring organizations confirm that Russian weapons have been found at the site of ongoing atrocities committed against civilians in Homs. In January 2012, Rosoboronexport signed a deal with the Syrian government to sell 36 combat jets capable of hitting ground targets. Most recently, the company’s CEO openly expressed his intention to continue supplying arms to Syria. “The Russian state-owned arms company has directly enabled the Syrian regime to kill thousands of civilians all the while the Russian government has provided political cover at the United Nations Security Council,” said United to End Genocide President Tom Andrews, a former Member of Congress. “Instead of pressuring Russia to end its support for crimes against humanity in Syria, the U.S. government is handing over millions of American dollars to very same arms dealers that are enabling atrocities,” Andrews said.

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The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network are now United to End Genocide. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities. The merger creates the world's largest anti-genocide activist organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors collectively representing more than $3 trillion in assets under management.
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