With the International Criminal Court
arrest warrant for Sudanese President al-Bashir and the expulsion of aid
agencies, there's a renewed call for a US special envoy for
comes from the Genocide Intervention Network, where Sam Bell is director of
advocacy. In Washington, he says that President Obama must
follow words with action.
a candidate for president, Senator Obama said that he would pledge unstinting
resolve to address the crisis in Sudan. And we are 50 days into his
administration and we have envoys for North Korea, the Middle East,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, (and) climate change and there is no one working the
Sudan portfolio at a high level. And this is show time for the Obama
administration in terms of global leadership," he says.
Genocide Intervention Network says that with the expulsion of aid agencies from
Sudan, one million people risk losing food, water and health care in Darfur.
"When we talk about global leadership, this is it. This is game time and we
don't have a team in place to confront this crisis," says Bell.
also says that despite the many crises facing Mr. Obama at this time, Sudan
should receive a high level attention. "If we're going to wait until all the
problems in the economy or all the other problems of the world are solved
before we take on genocide and mass atrocities, we're going to be waiting for a
long time and a lot of people are going to perish in the meantime."
says that reports several weeks ago indicated that the Obama administration was
considering a special envoy for Sudan. The Bush administration had appointed
three of them, including former senator John Danforth, who helped broker the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement, ending the long civil war between northern and
was a monumental achievement in Sudan and for American foreign policy. And that
sort of achievement can be replicated in the case of Darfur and the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement can be secured by a new envoy, if only that
person would be appointed and if only that person would be a high level envoy,
as was Senator Danforth," he says.
is not recommending any candidates for the post, but says that person must be a
trusted confidante of both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
"The Sudanese are not ignorant. They
know who's high level. They know who has power and influence in Washington, DC.
They know who had the ear of the previous president and they'll know who has
the ear of this president. So, we can't get away with a minor appointment to
this critical position," he says.