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US Officials Say They Will Continue to Press Sudan on Darfur - 2004-09-12

President Bush's national security advisor says an expanded African Union presence is key to easing the suffering in Sudan's western Darfur region. Condoleezza Rice says the United States is willing to help.

The Bush administration says what is taking place in Darfur is genocide. Condoleezza Rice says the best way to end the bloodshed is to augment the African Union contingent already there.

"Rwandans are ready to go. Nigerians are ready to go. We are prepared with others to help get them there," she said.

During an appearance on CNN's Late Edition program, Ms. Rice stressed the declaration of genocide, which has been rejected by the Sudanese government, was not the first display of American concern about Darfur.

"We have been involved in trying to stop the tragedy that is there, that we have now labeled genocide, for months," she added.

She took note of U.S. efforts to bring the issue before the United Nations, and work with the world community to get aid into Darfur and bring the violence to an end.

Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the region a few months ago and got a first hand look at the tragic conditions there. On the Fox News Sunday television program he said the United States will continue to push for U.N. sanctions against Khartoum, including the threat of action against Sudan's oil industry, if it does not do more to end attacks by Arab militias against black civilians in Darfur.

"The United States will continue to lead the way, and show the way, and put pressure on the Sudanese government and put pressure on the Security Council to take action," he said.

The United Nations says the fighting in Darfur has resulted in the world's greatest humanitarian crisis. The U.N. estimates that more than one million people have been forced to leave their homes and as many as 50,000 have died - victims of the violence, disease and starvation.