Actor George Clooney last night met separately with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House, winning assurances Darfur is one of the major priorities of the new administration.
“They assured me and wanted to assure the rest, whoever else is listening, this is high on their agenda,” Clooney was reported after the meetings. “This is a huge policy step for us.”
ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper reported Obama and Biden told Clooney that before the White House can send an envoy, there needs to be a full policy in place on Darfur.
The ABC report said Clooney was not scheduled to meet with Obama, but after running into him, the president invited him to sit down and talk in the Oval Office.
Clooney told CNN’s Larry King "I actually met with the president in the Oval Office for about 15 minutes." Clooney said he and Obama had worked together on Darfur three years ago, holding a news conference on the issue when Obama was a U.S. Senator.
“The administration has assured me that Darfur is one of a small handful of foreign policy reviews being undertaken at the senior most level,” Clooney told reporters after the meetings. “This is important — it’s not about government money, not about government troops. It’s about involvement.”
Earlier this month Clooney went to Eastern Chad, where he visited Darfurian refugee camps with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.