Tuesday, October 20, 2009
BBC TV asked for my reaction yesterday to the new U.S. policy on Sudan announced by Secretary Clinton earlier in the day. I replied that it reflected a new reality on the ground in both Darfur and southern Sudan. The situation in Darfur has improved and the death rate has dropped dramatically. The situation concerning implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the war between northern and southern Sudan has become more worrisome. Although the policy proscribes the Obama administration from dealing directly with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is under indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, I did not believe this would hinder Washington's ability to engage with Sudan, which has designated senior officials to oversee negotiations concerning both Darfur and implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. When asked about the probable reaction of human rights groups to the new policy, I responded that some of them would be displeased but hoped they too would recognize the new reality on the ground.