Bush Names Special Envoy for Sudan Peace

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 6, 2001 (Zenit.org).- U.S. President George W. Bush today appointed former Senator John Danforth as special envoy to Sudan to try to win support for a peace initiative in war-torn country.

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«I´m under no illusions,» Bush said at the White House, according to Reuters. «John Danforth is taking on an incredibly difficult assignment. The degree of difficulty is high. But this is an issue that is really important. … It´s important to the world to bring some sanity to the Sudan.»

Danforth will be asked to lead a major diplomatic initiative aimed at mediating between Sudan´s Muslim government and Christian and animist militias struggling for autonomy.

The current 18-year-old conflict has taken an estimated 2 million lives. At least four earlier U.S. attempts to end the fighting failed.

Sudan began exporting oil from the government territory in the north in 1999. But larger reserves may be in the opposition south.

At a meeting today in Kenya, Sudan´s Catholic bishops accused the country´s government of displacing civilians en masse in the southern Sudan to make way for oil exploration, a charge that has also been made by international human rights groups and some aid agencies.

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