Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts!|
|09/05/01 at 22:25:08|
|WED SEP 05 2001 04:09 P.M. G.M.T. |
US to launch peace initiative to end Sudanese civil war: officials
WASHINGTON, Sept 5 (AFP) - The United States is preparing an initiative to mediate peace between Sudan's government and groups fighting for autonomy in the south, US officials said Wednesday.
The plan, to include up to 30-million-dollars in humanitarian and relief aid, is to be led by former US senator John Danforth who the officials said would be named Washington's point man on Sudan on Thursday.
"We are working on the Danforth announcement now and we are also looking to increase our assistance to Sudan," said one senior official.
"It's no secret that Sudan is important to us and this initiative will demonstrate that," a second official said.
The initiative was first reported in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, which cited a "well-placed" US official as saying the announcement was imminent.
"Both sides say they want the US involved, and that the US is the only party able to bring peace to the region," that official told the newspaper.
According to US officials, there may be large oil reserves in southern Sudan, and President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir is being pressured by both oil companies and foreign governments to negotiate peace, the Times reported.
About half of the proposed US assistance would go to food aid mainly in the north, and half to development programs to help prepare southern Sudan for peace, the Times said.
State Department officials however cautioned that four earlier US attempts to end the war had failed, and the US government official even described the proposal as "a 50-50 proposition."
Fighting in Sudan has dragged on for 18 years, resulting in some 1.5 million dead, mostly in southern Sudan.
US President George W. Bush's administration has come under increasing domestic pressure from aid groups, religious organizations and others troubled by the ongoing war to boost its efforts to deal with the Sudan conflict.
As early as March the administration was vowing to appoint a special Sudan envoy as well as revamp its policy towards the country.
Copyright (c) 2001, AFP
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