Olympic boycott over Darfur would be 'excessive': George Clooney

Other News Materials 20 April 2008 02:35
Olympic boycott over  Darfur would be 'excessive': George Clooney

( AFP ) - Boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games to try to pressure China into taking action to stop the violence in Sudan's war-torn region of Darfur would be "excessive", said US actor George Clooney in an interview published Saturday in Spain.

"It seems excessive to boycott the Games because China does business in Darfur. It's always more important to keep a line of communication open," the Oscar-winning thespian told the El Pais newspaper.

Clooney, 46, has become a leading advocate for action to end the conflict in Darfur and for more humanitarian aid for the millions caught up in the conflict, after filming a documentary on the ongoing violence there last year.

He set up Not on Our Watch, a humanitarian group that focuses global attention on Darfur and has raised over nine million dollars (five million euros) for the region, with his "Ocean's Thirteen" castmates Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle.

Some Western activists have proposed shunning the Beijing Olympic Games in August in a bid to pressure China, the top arms supplier to Sudan and a major investor, particularly in its oil industry.

The Darfur conflict, which the United Nations says has claimed the lives of about 200,000 people and displaced 2.2 million, has raged since 2003 when rebel groups demanded a greater share of the country's resources.

Arab militias aligned to the government in Khartoum have been accused of horrendous violence against civilians as well as soldiers in quelling the rebellion.

Clooney, who won the Oscar as best supporting actor in 2006 for his role as a CIA agent in the political thriller "Syriana", was named an official UN peace envoy in January.

The star, who owns a villa on Italy's Lake Como, also said in the El Pais interview that he though Europe was more ecologically friendly than the United States.

"What is certain is that there is less consumption (in Europe) than in the United States and people recycle more. Things work in a much more intelligent way," he said.

The actor, who suffered a broken rib in a motorcyle accident in the United States last year, said he tries to do his part to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions when in Italy by always travelling by motorcyle.