Recent reports indicate that the United States government sent a junior-level consular officer to the inauguration of Omar al-Bashir last week, drawing criticism from a variety of human rights organizations. In the aftermath of the elections, the Genocide Intervention Network and its partner organizations cautioned the Obama administration about legitimizing the election results. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley defended the administration’s actions, pointing out that the inauguration also included the installment of SPLM Chairman Salva Kiir as the first vice president of Sudan and the president of the Government of Southern Sudan.
We must ensure that the Obama administration’s diplomatic outreach to the Sudanese regime does not translate into a weak policy going forward. We must urge the Obama administration to fully implement the Sudan policy articulated last October. We must shift our focus to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, ensuring that the Sudanese government, as well as regional and international actors, work to facilitate a peaceful referendum on Southern Sudanese independence in early 2011. In addition, we must encourage the progress of an inclusive peace process in Doha, which will facilitate an end to the still-raging conflict between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups.