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New U.S. Sudan policy includes pressure, incentives

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration announced a new Sudan policy that includes pressure on and incentives for the Sudanese government.

"If the Government of Sudan acts to improve the situation on the ground and to advance peace, there will be incentives," President Obama said in a statement on Monday. "If it does not, then there will be increased pressure imposed by the United States and the international community."

The new strategy comes amid recent controversy over the policy. The U.S. envoy to the region, J. Scott Gration, reportedly favors greater engagement with Sudanese leaders, while others in the administration, especially U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, argue for a policy that is tougher on the Sudanese government.

Obama said the policy has three goals: an end to the conflict, human rights abuses and genocide in Darfur; the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan’s North and South; and to ensure that Sudan does not provide a "safe haven" for terrorists.

Following a nearly six-year campaign of systematic rape, expulsion and murder against the citizens of Darfur by the government-backed Janjaweed militia, hundreds of thousands have died and more than 2.5 million have fled their homes and live in refugee camps in the region or in the neighboring countries of Chad and the Central African Republic.

The 20-year civil war between Muslims in the northern portion of the country and Christians in the south killed 2 million and left 4 million homeless.

Israel has taken in about a thousand refugees from Darfur, but limits them to working in the north and south of the country.

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