Sudan: Clinton Defends U.S. Record on Khartoum

4 May 2010

The United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has defended the Obama administration's record on Sudan, saying although she is "certainly not satisfied" with what it has achieved, "it is an immensely complicated arena."

During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, the host, David Gregory, challenged Clinton, saying that President Omar al-Bashir was classified by the U.S. as a "sponsor of state terror" and has been charged with crimes against humanity, but President Barack Obama and his aides had "caved, leaving Sudan gloating at American weakness."

Clinton responded that the U.S. had secured the return of aid to displaced people in Darfur after Bashir had expelled non-governmental groups from their camps, and added that "we're beginning to see some slight progress in Darfur."

She continued: "I don't want to overstate it because it is still a deplorable situation. But we're working to try to get the people back to their homes, out of the camps."

She said the recent Sudanese election was, "by any measure... flawed... There were many, many things wrong with it, but there hadn't been an election in many years. And so part of our goal was to try to empower opposition parties, empower people to go out and vote.

"Thousands and thousands did. The result, I think, was pretty much foreordained that Bashir would come out the winner, and that's unfortunate."

The U.S., she added, was now "turning all of our attention to trying to help the south and to mitigate against the attitudes of the north."

The administration "could back off and say, 'We won't deal with these people, we're not going to have anything to do with them, Bashir is a war criminal.' I don't think that will improve the situation. So along with our partners - the UK, Norway, neighboring countries - we are trying to manage what is a very explosive problem.

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