Mark your calendars: The White House has announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will meet with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday, August 18. The wires report that the two leaders will discuss a range of issues "including Middle East peace, combating extremism and other regional threats."
Here at Enough, we fully expect that any discussion of "other regional threats" will include pressure from the U.S. government on Egypt to participate in international efforts to support a comprehensive peace in Sudan. The Sudan Vision reported that "unnamed sources in Cairo" claim that President Mubarak plans to confer "sometime this month" with President Obama "in order to discuss the lifting of U.S.-imposed Sudan sanctions as well as issues to advance the peace process in Sudan. Mubarak’s move may be tied to the signs of a serious lack of coordination from the Obama administration (and significant disagreements between key officials) on U.S. policy toward Sudan. As Enough’s John Prendergast noted last week, "in the context of its policy review, President Obama should spell out a clear path forward for U.S. policy," which must include a number of priorities, including support for accountability, an issue relevant in the context of Egypt’s calls for suspension of the International Criminal Court case against Sudanese President Bashir. The key to a clear and successful U.S. policy must be leadership from the U.S. at the highest level, starting with the president himself. The meeting with Mubarak will be an opportunity to underline U.S. commitment to leading the international community on Sudan. We will have much more on the sanctions issue in the coming weeks, but President Obama should make one point crystal clear now and in his meeting with President Mubarak: that lifting U.S. sanctions on Sudan is not on the table.