With the news that President Omar al-Bashir plans to travel to Turkey and Egypt in the coming days, President Obama faces the first test of his recently announced Sudan policy.
The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the Genocide Intervention Network jointly released the following statement in reaction:
If President Obama and Secretary Clinton are unwilling to engage in personal diplomacy at the highest level to ensure that a wanted war criminal does not continue to travel with impunity to the capitals of key U.S. allies, it will send a powerful message that the administration isn’t serious about implementing the Sudan strategy it just announced.
John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project, noted, “For Turkey, a member of NATO and an aspiring member of the European Union, to welcome President Bashir is frankly baffling. If Turkey is truly committed to the values that would make membership of the European Union possible, it should quickly make clear that President Bashir is absolutely unwelcome.”
Jerry Fowler, President of the Save Darfur Coalition, added, “President Bashir’s travel is a test of the administration’s resolve on Sudan. If the President and Secretary of State let it happen without objection, Khartoum will get the message that the newly stated commitment to multilateral leadership is hollow. And for Turkey, it’s an opportunity to align itself with the E.U., most Latin American countries, and the emerging practice in sub-Saharan Africa: Convey to Bashir that he shouldn’t come unless he wants to risk arrest upon landing.”
Sam Bell, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network, added, “Given the depth and breadth of U.S. engagement with Egypt, it is striking that the situation in Sudan – and Bashir’s status as a war criminal – don’t appear t be part of the recent conversation among senior officials. How can the administration expect to effectively implement its new plan if it doesn’t make Sudan a top priority?”
Source: Center for American Progress