Obama’s Silence on Sudan

by Stephen Brown
November 18, 2009

President Obama’s recent trip to China presented a golden opportunity to address a crisis that has long confounded the international community: the ongoing conflict in Sudan. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an opportunity missed.

The largest country in Africa, Sudan’s central government has been involved until recently in devastating civil wars in its western and southern regions. However, the Sudanese leadership has constantly shrugged off international attempts to solve these simmering conflicts, relying on its strong relationship with China to counter any foreign peace-making efforts, which it terms “western imperialism.”

Recognizing the importance of Obama’s China trip for Sudan’s future, 44 members of Congress sent a letter to the president last Friday before his departure, asking him “to make Sudan a priority” in his discussions with the Chinese.

“Failure to exert sufficient public pressure on China regarding its relationship with Khartoum will send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States places other interests ahead of achieving peace in Sudan,” the letter states.

Initially, Obama’s Sudan policy appeared promising. During the election campaign last year, he had made Sudan a priority in his foreign policy platform.

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