Clooney said of his conversations with Obama and Biden: “Basically, we were just talking about coming back from Chad and right on the border of Darfur. And we were talking about there’s a moment coming up relatively soon — probably by the middle of next week — where the International Criminal Court is going to indict the president of Sudan for war crimes, which has never happened before — a sitting president.”
Clooney has been visiting refugees in Chad recently. More than 250,000 refugees are in the African country barely surviving.
The Celebrity Cafe reports:
“I think somehow we should all know that these people are hanging on by the skin of their teeth,” Clooney said.
After years of dealing with former President Bush the Enough project, a campaign that is working on ending the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region was excited with Clooney’s announcement that Obama had listened and would be appointing a special envoy.
“This is a phenomenal outcome, with the extraordinary series of crises that the new president has inherited, to have someone of Clooney’s stature and seriousness galvanize attention to this question on Darfur,” said John Prendergast, co-chairman of the ENOUGH project, a campaign to end genocide.
“It is a very positive step, and we are fortunate,” he said. “The envoy, working with a team and other countries, could help catalyze peace in Sudan.”
There are some reports that list the death toll at 2 million during the Darfur conflict. More conservative reports have 300,000 as the number of dead. During last year’s campaign both Obama and John McCain condemned the Sudanese government and demanded that the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement be implemented.
At that time Obama is quoted as saying:
“When you see a genocide, whether it’s in Rwanda or Bosnia, or in Darfur, that’s a stain on all of us, it’s a stain on our souls,” Obama said in an interview with the Save Darfur activist group. “We’re running out of time, and we have to maintain that sense of urgency. We can’t say, ‘Never again’ and then allow it to happen again.”
It is likely that either Anthony Lake, President Bill Clinton’s former national security adviser; former Sen. Bill Frist; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; or Roger Winter will be named as the envoy.
Monday night after spending the day talking with vice-president Joe Biden, Clooney appeared on the Larry King show. There the actor reported that Biden was very vocal about the issue. CNN quotes the actor:
Vice President Biden has been incredibly vocal on the issue. We had a long talk about the idea of, first and foremost, appointing a high level, full-time envoy that reports directly to the White House so that it’s not just temporary. We need somebody working on this, you know, every day — getting up every morning with their sole job to find peace in the area.
Clooney has been on this mission for several years. He has been campaigning to have more US activism to help held the conflict between rebels and the Sudanese governments.