Messinger meets with Obama on Darfur


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ruth Messinger was among the Darfur activists who met with President Obama and members of Congress.

The president of the American Jewish World Service said the White House meeting Monday, which included the new special envoy to Sudan, J. Scott Gration, demonstrated that the administration understands the importance of getting humanitarian groups back into Darfur.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir expelled the groups earlier in March after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on crimes against humanity.

Messinger said Obama indicated clearly that finding a political solution to end the genocide in Sudan is a top priority for his administration.

“The President reiterated that he recognizes the immediacy of the problems in Sudan and that he intends to address them without delay,” Messinger said in a statement.

The meeting was called on the eve of Gration’s departure for the region, and Messinger said the president "made it clear that Gen. Gration carries the full authority of the administration, and there was a real sense that the special envoy appreciates the need to act urgently to get the aid groups reinstated."

The genocide in Darfur has claimed more than 400,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people over six years.

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