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Berkshire, Fidelity Pressed On Sudan Oil Divestment

Tuesday, 1 May 2007 | 3:24 PM ET

The Save Darfur Coalition has turned its attention to Fidelity Investments and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in the struggle to end the strife in Sudan -- whose government was accused of committing genocide by the Bush Adminstration and the European Parliament. The coalition's executive director, David Rubenstein, joined "Power Lunch" to tell why investment companies may accomplish more than politicians in the pursuit of justice.

Save Darfur Campaign
The Save Darfur campaign goes after investment companies that could have an impact on the human rights situation in Darfur, with David Rubenstein, Save Darfur Coalition executive director and CNBC's Bill Griffeth

Rubenstein said that his group is asking world governments to press Sudan for peace, but maintained that investment companies have "so much impact, so much visibility" and "so much ability to make a change."

The director explained to CNBC's Bill Griffeth that Fidelity and Berkshire are investors in PetroChina, "one of the largest" oil drillers in Sudan. PetroChina is "closely tied" to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which Rubenstein says is bankrolling the Sudanese regime's "ability to fund its military" -- an armed force believed to be committing mass murder in Sudan's Darfur region.

- A Berkshire Hathaway spokesperson said of the divestment question: "It will be discussed during the annual meeting."

- A Fidelity Investments spokesperson said, "Fidelity complies fully with the laws and any rules on investment in the [sic] Sudan."

Rubenstein said he was "rather discouraged" by Fidelity's statement. "Following 'the law' may not be enough," he said, quoting a poll that found 84% of Americans don't want their investments "directly or indirectly funding genocide."

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