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US to name new Darfur envoy

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February 24, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – US President Barack Hussein Obama intends to appoint a special envoy to Sudan, disclosed cinema star George Clooney after a 15 minute meeting at the White House on Monday night.

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Top contendors for US special envoy to Sudan; John Prendergast (left), Roger Winter (Center), Senator Bill Frist (right)

Clooney holds the title Messenger of Peace for the United Nations and just returned from a short trip to visit Darfur refugees in eastern Chad. He told reporters that the president will appoint a full-time, high-level envoy.

Speaking on the television show CNN’s Larry King Live later that night, he said "This isn’t about needing American dollars…. It’s not about needing American troops. It’s about needing what we do best — what we have done best since the start of this country — which is good, robust diplomacy all across the world."

There is no special diplomat for Sudan since the former envoy stepped down at the end of George Bush’s term. Calls for appointment of a high-level envoy with particular deputies began just after Obama’s election win in November last year. In an open letter to Obama issued today, Rep. Frank Wolf called the delay “simply unacceptable.”

“I’ve witnessed the nightmare with my own eyes,” Wolf wrote of Darfur. “Every day that passes, more men are killed, more women are raped, and more children die of malnutrition. This is simply unacceptable. The time to act is now.

John Prendergast, a former White House official and current activist, and Roger Winter, a former diplomat to Sudan, are top contenders, the Associated Press speculated.

Activists have signaled that a top envoy with high stature in the US political circles could rally international leverage against Sudan’s government, which they accuse of genocide.

Wolf, the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, today recommended former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for the post.

Sudan faces a rebellion now six years running in its westernmost province, Darfur, that has displaced some three million people. The country ended a separate civil war four years ago in a tenuous peace deal that granted certain constitutional privileges to South Sudan.

(ST)

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  • 25 February 2009 10:06, by Akol Liai Mager

    Darfur needs a man who will do a good job, lobby USA, EU and NATO leaders to impose a military No-Fly-Zone over Darfur or put NATO troops on the ground before everyone is raped by NIF forces.

    But world human rights Activists are counting Obama/Hilary Clinton days in office. Both mentioned US leaders have been very tough in their words about Darfur in their compaigns to the White House, now decision making is theirs and are being watched to put their words in action. Darfur Elderly, Women and Children need to see a shifting action that will restore their hope for a good life.

    repondre message

    • 26 February 2009 01:08, by Maruon Ayiei

      Both mention men are well capable to do good job in Darfur. John Prendergast is a well known human right activist and been in Darfur many times. Roger Winter is also extraordinary in dealing with such situation as he did in Southern Sudan. Bill Frist is a medical doctor who can see the dire situation innocent people in Darfur are facing on daily basis. Those men are good choices. Go a head Mr President Barack Obama and Mr Vice President Joseph Biden. Also add no fly zone as you both articulate during the campaign. Khartoum is a deaf hear regime and cannot listen to recommandation from an envoy. Khartoum need a tough talk followed by action. Go a head Obama Administration.

      repondre message

    • 19 January 2013 09:34, by golfmangs

      I am interested in this topic and would like to find out some more information as my friend need information on this topic. Do you have any other articles about this?
      Tony

      repondre message

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