Thursday, August 20, 2009

ANALYSIS-Frustrated Darfur activists slam US envoy Gration

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Frustrated by the world's failure to end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's western Darfur region, some advocacy groups have turned on the new U.S. envoy, accusing him of helping Khartoum thwart peace.

The unusual public censure highlights a growing divide on Darfur. One side are those who feel more engagement with -- and less criticism of -- Khartoum is needed to end the suffering in Darfur. On the other are those who support more pressure, more sanctions and possibly military action if Sudan blocks efforts to secure peace in the region.

The Darfur conflict has been going on for more than six years. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have died since 2003, compared to Khartoum's official death toll of 10,000. The world body also says some 4.7 million people in Darfur rely on aid to survive.

In an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force General Scott Gration, actress Mia Farrow and other activists said that Gration's strategy with Sudan was prolonging the crisis.

"We believe that your conciliatory stance and reluctance to criticize (Khartoum) both excuses and emboldens (it), thereby facilitating its ongoing reign of terror and well-known strategy of 'divide and rule,'" the letter said. Read more >>>>>>>>

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