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US special envoy to Sudan asked Bush to use military force: report

December 28, 2008 (WASHINGTON) – The US special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson has reportedly asked President Bush to take coercive measures against Khartoum to halt killings in the western region of Darfur.

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The New York Times (NYT) newspaper reported that Williamson sent a “tough” memo to Bush recommending a series of steps to pressure the Sudanese government.

Among the steps is to temporarily jam all communications in the Sudanese capital which would severe telephone communications, cell phones as well as internet access.

Furthermore the US navy would hinder access to Port Sudan by searching or turning away some ships. At a later stage a full blown embargo could be enforced to prevent Sudan from selling its oil.

The last stage would be to shoot down all Sudanese fighters that violate ban over Darfur and to use the threat of destroying air force if Khartoum does not comply with other demands such as handing over two suspects to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Williamson also suggested providing surface-to-air missiles to the government of South Sudan (GoSS) to protect the semi-autonomous South from retaliation by Khartoum.

The US has been the only country to label the Darfur conflict genocide and the Bush administration has been under intense domestic pressure to intervene.

Last February US President George W Bush has defended his decision not to send troops to the region despite strong domestic pressure.

“I had to make a seminal decision. And that is whether or not I would commit US troops into Darfur” Bush told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in an interview.

But many Darfur activists accused the Bush administration of refusing to take more forceful steps against Khartoum to avoid jeopardizing their intelligence cooperation.

US officials denied the allegations saying that the counterterrorism cooperation has not prevented Washington from taking the lead on the Darfur crisis.

The NYT said that the plans put forth by Williamson were blocked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security adviser Stephen Hadley.

The report is likely to worry Khartoum which has last week praised Williamson for his knowledge of Sudan after the diplomat made a speech suggesting that the incoming Obama administration should test diplomatic options with Sudan before moving to “more robust steps.”

(ST)