President Bush says the government in Sudan must do more to protect civilians in the troubled Darfur region.

The Bush Administration is trying to increase pressure on Khartoum to reign in Arab militiamen responsible for much of the violence in Darfur that has displaced more than two million people and killed tens of thousands of people.

President Bush says it is time the government and Sudanese rebels make progress at ongoing peace talks in the Nigerian capital.

"The message to the Sudanese government is: we are very serious about getting this problem solved," said Mr. Bush.  "We don't like it when we see women raped and brutalized. And we expect there to be a full effort by the government to protect human life and human condition. We also recognize there is a parallel political track taking place, and that we urge the rebels as well as the government to forge a consensus at Abuja so that there is a way forward from the political impasse that has taken place thus far in Sudan."

President Bush wants African Union peacekeeping troops made part of a United Nations force with support from the NATO alliance.

He met with peace activists and relief officials at the White House in an effort to bring greater attention to the suffering of displaced civilians ahead of rallies Sunday in several American cities.

Some U.S. lawmakers were arrested as they protested outside Sudan's embassy in Washington, Friday. President Bush this week issued an executive order freezing assets of four Sudanese identified by the United Nations as having carrying out atrocities in Darfur.