photo by jon nicholson

news - Obama Offers Sudan Incentives to End Darfur 'Genocide'

october 19th, 2009

"US President Barack Obama unveiled a new policy on Sudan Monday and warned Khartoum of more US pressure if it failed to respond to his fresh incentives to stop 'genocide' and 'abuses' in Darfur.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will offer Sudan incentives based on 'verifiable changes' in a bid to end the violence in Darfur and stabilize southern Sudan.

'Words alone are not enough,' said Clinton who was flanked by Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, and Scott Gration, the special envoy for Sudan.

'Assessment of progress and decisions regarding incentives and disincentives will be based on verifiable changes in conditions on the ground,' the chief US diplomat said.

Clinton said, for example, that the Obama administration would watch for 'credible elections' scheduled for next year under a fragile 2005 peace agreement aimed at ending a two-decade civil war in the south.

The planned elections have already been twice postponed amid differences between the Khartoum government and the southern former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) over a planned census and a new electoral law.

Clinton said US policy aimed to 'end conflict, gross human rights abuses, war crimes and genocide in Darfur,' to ensure full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to make sure Sudan does not become a 'haven for terrorists.'

Rice warned of 'significant consequences' for any parties in Sudan who failed to live up to their promises. There would be 'no rewards' for the status quo, she added.

Obama reinforced the point in a statement issued by the White House, Obama said: 'Our conscience and our interests in peace and security call upon the United States and the international community to act with a sense of urgency and purpose.'

'First, we must seek a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses and genocide in Darfur,' Obama said.

'If the Government of Sudan acts to improve the situation on the ground and to advance peace, there will be incentives, if it does not, then there will be increased pressure imposed by the United States and the international community.

'As the United States and our international partners meet our responsibility to act, the Government of Sudan must meet its responsibilities to take concrete steps in a new direction.'"

LINK: "Obama offers Sudan incentives to end Darfur 'genocide'" (AFP)

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