News / USA

Actor George Clooney Briefs Obama on Sudan Trip

Actor, activist George Clooney (R) with activist John Prendergast
Actor, activist George Clooney (R) with activist John Prendergast

U.S. President Barack Obama met on Tuesday with actor and activist George Clooney to discuss the situation in Sudan. After his latest visit to Sudan, Clooney has been speaking about the importance of referenda in January in southern Sudan and challenges facing the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that is aimed at ending decades of conflict between the north and south in Sudan.

The Oval Office meeting between the president and one of the world's most visible activist on Sudan came at a difficult time for U.S.-mediated talks between north and south Sudan over the disputed oil-rich Abyei region and efforts to salvage the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.



The talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, or SPLM, and the Khartoum government have run into difficulty.  An SPLM spokesman tells VOA that the talks are in danger of breaking down over the issue of Abyei.

Since his return from a visit to southern Sudan, Clooney has warned of the dangers of allowing negotiations to collapse, saying that it could lead to renewed civil war and possibly genocide, as was seen in Sudan's western Darfur province.

Clooney spoke with reporters at the White House about the importance of keeping the talks going.

"At this moment, there is an opportunity here to negotiate this, to negotiate a peace treaty.  It's complicated and it's difficult and it means negotiating with people you don't necessarily like, you don't necessary get along with.  This administration [the Obama administration] seems committed to it, and we have to focus on that right now rather than focusing on the idea of the aftermath," he said.

Several weeks ago, President Obama told a high-level meeting on Sudan during the United Nations General Assembly session, that the fate of millions of people lies in the balance in Sudan, and that only the parties in Sudan can ensure peace.  

Sudan expert and human rights activist John Prendergast, described President Obama as very focused on the Sudan situation.  Prendergast says Mr. Obama and Clooney urged the continuation of "robust diplomacy."

"This president is very focused, very knowledgeable about the details, very in control of policy.  This is a breath of fresh air, and it gives a chance to diplomacy, gives a chance to peace making that did not exist three months ago," he said.

Saying that the people of Sudan face tremendous danger, Clooney said the Obama administration and the international community must work to ensure that negotiations continue.

"Talks break down.  They're going to continue to break down.  They're going to come back; they're going to continue to break down and come back.  Our hope is that no one stops negotiating all the way through.  That's what we want," Clooney said.

Clooney and Prendergast also went to Capitol Hill to meet with the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar - one of several lawmakers who shares intense concern about the situation in Sudan.

Lugar said he is aware that the Obama administration is pursuing a multifaceted diplomatic effort on Sudan.

"The questions before us now are technical ones, of the referendum scheduled for January 9, and preparation for that.  But likewise for various concessions that might be made by the U.S., by the rest of the world, regarding the lifting of sanctions or even giving assistance to the north, in the event that the north and the south are separated by the will of the people in the referendum.  But equally, our thoughts have to be with the people in the south and the ability to develop the governmental institutions so that there can be governance without warfare among those persons too," Lugar said.

Lugar said the international community should take very seriously what is occurring in Sudan, and be constructive and assertive, adding that there might be great problems after January 9 if the political process does not succeed.

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid