Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Secretary Clinton Puts Pressure on Sudan

Yesterday, at the news conference with the top officials of the Northern Ireland administration, Secretary Clinton made some comments that were the strongest to date by a senior U.S. official over the Sudanese leader's decision last week to expel 13 international aid groups and subsequent order that all such groups cease activity in Sudan by the end of the year. On March 4th, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him for war crimes. Recently, he ordered 13 foreign aid groups out of Sudan accusing them of siding with the International Criminal Court.

Clinton said the Sudanese president will be responsible for "every single death" caused by the expulsion of 13 foreign aid groups from war-torn Darfur.

"This is a horrendous situation that is going to cause untold misery and suffering for the people of Darfur, particularly those in the refugee camps," Clinton said of Sudan's decision to expel the aid groups.

"The real question is what kind of pressure can be brought to bear on President Bashir and the government in Khartoum to understand that they will be held responsible for every single death that occurs in those camps."

In reports out today, international experts are saying at least 200,000 people have died in Sudan's western Darfur region, while al-Bashir's government says 10,000 have died. The deaths are mostly caused by fighting, but hunger and disease have taken their toll, prompting aid agencies to step in and provide humanitarian aid.

Clinton said al-Bashir's government had now assumed "an even greater sense of responsibility and infamy in the eyes of the world."

She called on governments supporting him to push for the return of the aid workers, or fill the gaps themselves.

"They must replace with money and personnel those who have been expelled so that innocent lives are not lost and further undermined," Clinton said.

Yea, Hil! All those who said human rights weren't at the top of her list can eat it! :)

Now, I thought this was interesting as well. Today the al-Bashir spoke at a rally of local residents in South Darfur, stressing his full commitment to realizing security, stability and development in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

He said this: "What has happened in Darfur is the work of the devil." He called on the people of Darfur to overpass the bitterness of the past, reject the racism, and advance towards the reconstruction, development and education to eliminate illiteracy and ignorance.

Today Obama appointed Scott Gration, a retired air force general, as the special envoy to Sudan. Now, that's a step in the right direction! I know Hillary will work hard on this situation in Darfur. I think they need to, if they haven't already, enforce a no-fly zone and put sanctions on senior Sudanese officials and an arms embargo. Also, I think the US needs to keep supporting the International Criminal Court on its investigation, which it sounds like Hillary is much in favor of.

I am by no means an expert, anyone have any thoughts on Darfur?

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