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US presidential hopeful vows to hold Khartoum accountable for ‘atrocities’

January 31, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – The United States (US) Republican presidential front runner Mitt Romney on Tuesday blasted the Sudanese government accusing it of committing atrocities throughout the country and vowed to hold it accountable.

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney beams during his victory celebration after winning the Florida primary election Tuesday Jan. 31, 2012, in Tampa, Florida (AP)

"Mitt Romney recognizes that for too long far too many Sudanese have been victims of war crimes and other atrocities committed by the government in Khartoum and its proxies," the Romney campaign said in a statement according to Foreign Policy magazine.

"In Southern Sudan, millions died as a result of ethnic and religious targeted killings during the long civil war. Among those brutally targeted were Christians and adherents of traditional African religions, Dinka, Nuer, and members of other ethnic groups. In Darfur, non-Arab populations have been and continue to be victims of a slow-motion genocide. And since independence of the Republic of South Sudan, Khartoum has committed a range of atrocities in border regions that have claimed countless lives and displaced hundreds of thousands”.

Romney pledged that if elected president he will take steps to protect the civilian population from human right abuses committed by Khartoum.

"Governor Romney is committed to protecting innocents from war crimes and other atrocities, ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches those desperately in need, holding accountable those leaders who perpetrate atrocities, and achieving a sustainable peace for all who live in Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan," the statement said.

South Sudan formally declared its independence from Sudan in July 2011 under a 2005 peace agreement, and the administration of US president Barack Obama has worked to free the young country from economic and political sanctions originally imposed on the Khartoum government.

The relationship between Sudan and South Sudan remains tense, with the two countries at loggerheads over oil revenues, unresolved border issues and the disputed region of Abyei.

(ST)