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New US Policy to Offer Incentives, Pressure for Sudan

By VOA News
17 October 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama will soon unveil a new policy for Sudan that takes a softer approach than the president called for during his campaign for the White House.

Administration officials say the plan, which will be announced Monday, calls for working with the Sudanese government using a mix of pressure and incentives.

The new policy is aimed at convincing Khartoum to stop human rights abuses in the troubled Darfur region, settle disputes with the semi-autonomous south and cooperate more fully in the fight against terrorism.

The Obama administration settled on its new strategy after months of heated debate, particularly between U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, and the U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration. Rice argued for a more hard line approach than Gration.

In a show of unity, Gration and Rice will be present when Secretary Clinton unveils the new policy Monday.

Mr. Obama had pledged during his presidential campaign to isolate Sudan whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted for war crimes.

The International Criminal Court has accused President Bashir of masterminding a campaign of rape, murder and other crimes against Darfur civilians.

On Friday, Sudanese officials in the north and the semi-autonomous south announced they had reached an agreement on how to conduct a 2011 referendum on the south's full independence.

Previously, south Sudan had accused the north of trying to undermine the independence vote. The referendum is part of a 2005 peace deal between the north and the south that ended 21 years of civil war.

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