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Africa Action Reacts to Sudan Policy Announcement

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 (Washington, DC) – This week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and General Gration finally announced a new U.S. – Sudan policy primarily based on “incentives and disincentives” depending on verifiable progress.Africa Action welcomes the Administration’s policy that addresses Darfur and all Sudan, and appears to be results driven. However, we voice concern with the vague pronouncement of a new policy strategy towards Sudan that relies heavily on classified information.Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said this morning, “At this point, it is still unclear how the ‘incentives’ will be balanced with ‘disincentives.’ We have seen in the past how the incentives become purely counterintelligence considerations. The disincentives are dropped for the sake of relationships.”Africa Action urges that as U.S. officials struggle to build leverage against Khartoum, the U.S. must prioritize human rights, the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and peace and justice in Darfur over normalization of U.S. policy. The State Department should disclose in more detail when and what incentives would be employed.Michael Stulman, Associate Director of Policy and Communications said, “We cannot fail to take into consideration the needs of Sudanese people. Right now, there is still a need for security. There is still a need to disarm militia allied with the Government of Sudan, and there is still a need for greater humanitarian aid in the region, currently restricted by the Government of Sudan.” There are alarming new indicators of deteriorating conditions in Sudan.According to field research by Human Rights Watch, civil society activists and other political groups continue to face harassment. The 25-page report, “The Way Forward: Ending Human Rights Abuses and Repression across Sudan” also documents ongoing violence in Darfur, including indiscriminate bombings killing civilians, including women and children as recent as September 17th and 18th.Africa Action calls the U.S. government and other multilateral partners to gather the political will and follow through on its promises and back up its commitments with real action, otherwise U.S. efforts to bring peace in the region will continue to be unsuccessful.

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