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Finally, after months marked by speculation, alarming hints of appeasement toward Khartoum (cookies, anyone?) and rumors of sharp division, the Obama administration announced its new Sudan policy Monday. At the State Dept. podium with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Sudan Special Envoy Maj. General Scott Gration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced policy in which, "Assessment of progress and decisions regarding incentives and disincentives will be based on verifiable changes in conditions on the ground."
Many activists and experts breathed a sigh of relief, at the same time noting that the crucial part, implementation, must begin now.
A robust round of media coverage and statements from the administration and Capitol Hill reinforced the significance of the long-awaited announcement.
On the NewsHour, PBS correspondent Ray Suarez nicely spotlighted the nuances of the new policy and the stakes for Sudan. The story includes an interview with Enough co-founder John Prendergast, as well as a hard-hitting interview with Gen. Gration, who unfortunately refused to offer specific examples of the types of pressures the U.S. would apply toward Khartoum:
"Well, there's a wide variety of things and most of these are in a list that we would look at very carefully, and choose the ones that are appropriate, ones that would acheive the desired effect," Gen. Gration told Suarez. "The pressures include those that are political, economic -- and you can figure out what they are."
Voice of America added to the mix with a detailed wrapup featuring analysis from Enough executive director John Norris:
The Washington Post, way ahead of the pack on covering the policy formulation, moved the story forward after the announcement with this spotlight on the North-South conflict.
Additional statements on the policy poured in from across Washington. President Obama, of course, issued a statement. Senator Russ Feingold echoed many activists in his desire "to learn more about the specific pressures being considered to make the Sudanese government comply and under what specific conditions these steps would be triggered." The State Department issued a transcript of an interesting background briefing conducted after the policy announcement.
Gen. Gration even posted on the State Department's blog, concluding, "The situation is urgent. Time is short. Failure is not an option."
If you missed the announcement, check it out from C-SPAN here.
The written policy is here.