Obama taps retired general as special envoy to Sudan
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday named retired Major General Scott Gration as his special envoy to Sudan, a further demonstration to ratchet up pressure against Khartoum for expelling humanitarian relief groups from the Darfur region, Xinhua reported.
"Sudan is a priority for this administration, particularly at a time when it cries out for peace and for justice," Obama said in a statement. "The worsening humanitarian crisis there makes our task all the more urgent."
Gration, a Swahili-speaking Air Force officer, grew up in Africa as the son of missionaries.
Obama made the announcement two weeks after Sudan ordered to expel 13 foreign non-governmental organizations operating in Darfur, accusing them of passing "false and fabricated information " to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) issued early this month an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country's restive western region of Darfur between 2003 and 2008.
Sudan, which categorically rejected the ICC's accusation, accused the expelled foreign organizations of conducting activities threatening the national security of Sudan, and warned to expel the foreign missions not respecting the laws of the country.
U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton escalated the Obama administration's speech on Tuesday, vowing to hold Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir responsible for the expulsion of aid groups.