Thursday, May 03, 2007

US senators petition Chinese president over Darfur

Nearly the entire US Senate has signed a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao asking him to step up pressure on the government of Sudan to end the bloodshed in Darfur.

In an indication of the widespread concern in Congress over the unending violence in Sudan's troubled west, the letter, signed by 96 of the 100 senators, called on Hu to prod Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir to halt military operations throughout Darfur, withdraw troops from the area and follow through on Khartoum's agreement to accept a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping force.

These steps were critical in enforcing a ceasefire, protecting civilians, ensuring access to humanitarian aid and beginning reconstruction and reconciliation in Darfur, the senators said.

"We must now work together as an international community; there is no time left to wait," the senators told Hu.

"We therefore appeal to you today to use your influence in words and in deeds to protect civilians," they said.

The Darfur conflict has caused 200,000 deaths and led to two million people being displaced, according to the United Nations. Read more >>>

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