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

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid