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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs