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26 July 2004

White House Report, July 26: Sudan

Ending violence in Darfur remains a high priority

"Ending the violence in Darfur is one of the president's highest priorities," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan told reporters July 26 in Crawford, Texas.

"The president has called on the government of Sudan to stop the Jinjaweed violence and he has called on all sides to respect the cease-fire, to allow humanitarian assistance to flow readily," said Buchan.

According to reports, the conflict has claimed up to 50,000 lives and about 1.2 million have been displaced since ethnic tensions erupted in February 2003.

Noting the "positive steps" that Secretary of State Colin Powell has taken to help the region, the White House official acknowledged that more improvement is needed to convince the Sudan government of the importance of security.

Powell, who visited Darfur in early July and met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss the situation, has asked for international support to insist that the Sudan government in Khartoum take direct action to improve conditions in the region.

"We are closely monitoring the government of Sudan's response," Buchan said. "There have been some improvements. But the picture is mixed, and we believe that more needs to be done on the security front and we're continuing to monitor that."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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