President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Major General J. Scott Gration as the special envoy for Sudan, and rededicated himself to end what the United States has declared a genocide in Darfur.
"General Grationís personal and professional background, and his service to the country as both a military leader and a humanitarian, give him the insights and experience necessary for this assignment," Obama said in a statement, calling his appointment "a strong signal of my Administrationís commitment to support the people of Sudan while seeking a lasting settlement to the violence that has claimed so many innocent lives."
"Sudan is a priority for this Administration, particularly at a time when it cries out for peace and for justice. The worsening humanitarian crisis there makes our task all the more urgent," Obama added.
"I have made clear my intention to work with the international community to end the suffering. That means supporting the full, unobstructed deployment of the joint African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force and the negotiation of a political solution that will give the people of Darfur a meaningful voice in the decisions that affect their future. The Government of Sudanís disastrous decision to expel humanitarian relief organizations leaves a void that will be filled by deprivation and despair and they will be held accountable for the lives lost.
"As we work to bring peace to Darfur, we will continue to work with both parties to Sudanís Comprehensive Peace Agreement to ensure its full and complete implementation. All parties must see this through if Sudan and the surrounding region are to enjoy lasting stability.
The Save Darfur Coalition applauded the appointment.
"His experience, gravitas and close relationship with President Obama will contribute greatly to his effectiveness. Equally important, he must have the mandate and authority to drive U.S. policy on Sudan," coalition president Jerry Fowler said in a statement.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.