US candidates unite on Darfur

Violence continues in Darfur
Violence continues in Darfur

The three remaining candidates for this year's United States presidential election have issued a statement of unity on Darfur.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is joined by Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the statement, the first of its kind since Franklin Roosevelt and Thomas Dewey committed to ending the second world war in the 1944 vote.

The three candidates say the situation in Sudan's western Darfur region, which has seen five years of human rights abuses amid violence between rebels and government-backed militias, is "unacceptable to the American people and to the world community".

"As we campaign for president of the United States over the next several months, we expect there to be significant focus on the many differences between us," the statement reads.

"It is with this awareness that we are taking the uncommon step of issuing a joint statement about an issue.

"Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us. We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end."

The statement adds the next White House administration will pursue an end to violence in Darfur "with unstinting resolve", whichever candidate wins.

"It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush administration," it continues.

"We deplore all violence against the people of Darfur."

The statement has been welcomed by campaigning groups, who are concerned the situation in Darfur has escalated in recent months.

Save Darfur Coalition (SDC) chairperson Gloria White-Hammond said: "With this unequivocal joint statement, these candidates have elected to transcend their differences in party and policies and unite for the peace and protection of the people in Sudan."

The threat of further violence in Darfur continues to escalate. May 20th saw Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir heavily hint at a new round of attacks.

These will come in response to fighting in the contested town of Abyei and an attack on Khartoum by the Justice and Equality Movement, the SDC says. Summary executions, widespread detentions and crackdowns on journalists and lawyers are expected.


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