This is Obama Unplugged on Sudan. His comments in an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation highlight the divide, which we pointed out yesterday and of which he seems unaware, between his views and those of his special envoy, Scott Gration. The president is clearly supportive, as the U.S. should be, of the ICC's cases in Sudan as a fundamental component of peace with justice.
Well, my view is that the ICC has put forward an arrest warrant. We think that it is important for the government of Sudan to cooperate with the ICC. We think that it is also important that people are held accountable for the actions that took place in Darfur that resulted in, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of lives being lost.
And so there has to be accountability, there has to be transparency. Obviously we are active in trying to make sure that Sudan is stabilized; that humanitarian aid continues to go in there; that efforts with respect to a referendum and the possibility of Southern Sudan gaining independence under the agreement that was brokered, that that moves forward.
So it is a balance that has to be struck. We want to move forward in a constructive fashion in Sudan, but we also think that there has to be accountability, and so we are fully supportive of the ICC.
In contrast, General Gration feels accountability issues make his job harder and seemed to find the timing of new ICC arrest warrant inconvenient, given that, as he put it, "100 percent" of issues that need to be addressed in Sudan are in Bashir's hands.
Who is in charge of U.S. policy to Sudan? The Deputies haven't met in months, and the policy announced in October seems to be in Deep Freeze. Who will suffer for this? The people of Sudan.
Photo: President Obama and Special Envoy Gration (AP)