A Changing Darfur

It has been more than six years, since the first conflict erupted in the war-torn region of Darfur, Sudan. Since then, a great deal has changed on the ground and some militia groups have broken off their alliance with the government. Washington Post correspondent Stephanie McCrummen shares her latest reporting after a recent trip to Sudan.

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MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Later in the program, we'll talk about money, money, money, y'all. What to do when those student loans come due, and who's getting those multimillion dollar bonuses on Wall Street and why?

But we begin the program talking about Sudan. The Obama administration unveiled a new diplomatic strategy towards the African nation that has engaged the passionate concern of grassroots activists, and high level negotiators for many years now.

Yesterday's announcement came after what was, by all accounts, a hard fought seven-month review. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out what's at stake.

HILLARY CLINTON: During the past decade, genocide in Darfur, and protracted violence, and conflict between the north and south have claimed more than two million lives, subjected civilians to unspeakable atrocities, and led to mass human suffering.

MARTIN: In making the announcement, Secretary Clinton was joined by the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice. Rice said the new strategy would link Darfur and the conflict between north and south together.

SUSAN RICE: To meet these twin goals, the United States is prepared to work with all sides. We will employ calibrated incentives as appropriate, and exert real pressure as needed on any party that fails to act to improve the lives of the people of Sudan.

MARTIN: Specifically, the U.S. is prepared to work with the government of Omar al-Bashir, a government accused of setting off and supporting genocide, charges that have led to a warrant for Bashir's arrest issued by the International Criminal Court. Administration officials said they would not remove Sudan from a terrorism blacklist without progress on the ground. And Ambassador Rice says there will be milestones that have to be met.

RICE: There will be no rewards for the status quo. No incentives without concrete and tangible progress. There will be significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still.

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