Tuesday, April 07, 2009

US Senator John Kerry to visit Darfur and Khartoum, Sudan

Senator to make rare Darfur visit
April 06, 2009 Reuters report by Andrew Heavens - excerpt:
Khartoum - The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, will lead a delegation to Sudan's Darfur region, U.S. officials said on Monday, in a possible sign of a growing willingness to engage with Khartoum.

"This is significant," a U.S. diplomatic source told Reuters. "It is the first Congressional delegation to Sudan we have had since 2007. Like the U.S. envoy's current visit, it is a new tack."

The U.S. diplomatic source said Kerry, a Democrat, would lead a Congressional delegation to Darfur, and would meet senior Sudanese officials in Khartoum in the middle of next week.

The state-run Sudanese Media Center said the U.S. Congressional delegation would visit Sudan for three days next week. (Editing by Giles Elgood)
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US Senator John Kerry

Photo: US Democratic Senator John Kerry, seen here in March 2009, participates in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will visit Darfur next week, a US official said on Monday, amid signs of thawing US-Sudan relations. (AFP/Getty Images/File/Mark Wilson)

Kerry to highlight peace deal
April 06, 2009 AFP (SA) report - excerpt:
Washington - Democratic US Senator John Kerry will discuss US-Sudan relations and snarled efforts to implement a 2005 north-south peace deal when he visits the country next week, an aide said on Monday.

But the top lawmaker will not meet with President Omar al-Bashir, who is under an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the six-year conflict in Darfur, the aide told AFP.

Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "will discuss US-Sudan relations and the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement" reached in 2005, the aide said.

"John Kerry will arrive in the middle of next week, he will visit Darfur and meet with officials in the country. His visit will last a few days," said that official, who asked not to be named.

Implementation of the 2005 agreement, which ended Sudan's two-decade north-south civil conflict, has hit many snags, but some leaders in the region have suggested that the ICC warrant should be deferred if Bashir implements existing peace accords. [...]
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Flowers from Darfur, Western Sudan

Photo: Flowers in El-Fashir, northern Darfur, Sudan (Andrew Heavens)

Note to self for future reference.

PoliticsOnline: The Second Superpower campaigns for Kerry
For the first time in history, the rise of global citizen activism through the Internet is impacting the U.S. presidential elections.
- Jim Moore - October 16, 2004.

Prendergast's Enough Project discussing U.S. relations with Sudan: Kerry himself mentioned previous American leadership failures in relation to Sudan policy as well as his and Secretary Clinton’s interests in the no-fly zone and American engagement with Africa generally. He told the assembled group that this is, “a moment for serious people to buckle down and find serious responses,” to Sudan’s crises. Senator Kerry ended the hearing by asking each expert to pull together a summary of what they think the key U.S. policy priorities should be for Sudan.
- Sudan Watch - February 14, 2009.

Darfur cartoon by Luckovich

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich circa Apr 2006

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