When President Bush signed the Sudan Peace Act last October 21, he told Christian and religious liberty activists, "I will not forget Sudan. And if I do, I know that you will prod me."
Now some activists are saying: Let the prodding begin.
The act gave the Muslim government six months to begin negotiating with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement rebels. Under the act, if Sudan fails to negotiate in good faith or blocks humanitarian relief efforts, the President has the discretion to impose sanctions or take other punitive measures (CT, Dec. 9, 2002, p. 17).
On April 22, six months after the signing of the peace act, Bush acknowledged "sporadic military activities," but said both sides were negotiating in good faith and should continue talks. He did not impose any sanctions.
Nevertheless, observers cite numerous violations by the Islamist government in Khartoum. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said an independent civilian monitoring team in February reported numerous lethal attacks on civilian targets.
The commission also said the government may be using the cease-fire to rearm and strengthen garrisons in the south—"from which it could launch devastating offensives should the peace talks end in failure."
Richard Cizik, the National Association of Evangelicals' vice president of governmental affairs, told Christianity Today, "It looks like we have to hold two governments—the United States and Sudan—accountable."
Faith McDonnell of the Institute on Religion and Democracy was "not surprised" but "very disappointed" by the President's statement. She said a coalition of religious-liberty and human-rights groups would launch a massive letter-writing campaign to Congress, the State Department, and the President. ...1
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