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Former NATO Chief: US Troops Should Deploy in Darfur


Former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark says the United States and NATO should deploy troops in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan to stop violence there.

Violence the Darfur region of western Sudan could have been prevented, had the world learned from Kosovo, former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark says. He tells VOA in an interview the 1999 NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo was what he calls a "preventative action to the imminent ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Albanians."

"Well, I think Kosovo made it very clear that you have to undertake a commitment to solve a problem," said Mr. Clark. "It is not enough simply to say, 'We've got to make sure there are food and blankets for the people who are displaced.' Ethnic cleansing is not a force of nature. It's a force, a man-made tragedy."

To put a stop to the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo Albanians in the spring of 1999, NATO forces, under General Clark's command, embarked on a 78-day bombing campaign of Yugoslav military positions. NATO troops, along with Russian soldiers were then deployed on a peacekeeping mission.

General Clark says an international ground force, including American troops, is needed in Sudan to stop the continuing violence in Darfur.

"You don't need 20,000 American troops," he explained. "You need maybe 5,000. Then you need a NATO force around it and then you bring the African force on top of that. Gradually, you replace the international force with the African force."

The United Nations has termed the Darfur violence the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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