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Clinton: Sudan politicians’ arrest a blow for elections

December 11 - 2009 WASHINGTON

(By Radio Dabanga)

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on Thursday said the United States “condemns” the disruptions that occurred to Monday’s protest in Khartoum. Her statement came while the US is weighing its support for elections in Sudan based on ongoing developments. Clinton announced that the US-envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration, will visit Sudan this weekend. “Special envoy Scott Gration will return to Sudan this weekend to help restart dialogue and resolve outstanding issues that are contributing to these rising tensions,” said Clinton referring to the mass arrests of prominent SPLM-politicians and opposition supporters in front of the National Assembly in Khartoum. She said, “Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and protection from arbitrary arrest and detention are instrumental to allow for credible elections in April 2010.” Gration himself told Congress one week ago, “We are discussing what is going to be our approach [to the elections], because we’re going to have to be doing a lot of the funding. The question is: when do you stop funding something that’s not going to be working out?” Nevertheless, so far the US still strongly supports the elections both financially and diplomatically. Top US officials will review their strategy toward Sudan at a meeting in early 2010. This is expected to take place at the level of the Deputies Committee of the US National Security Council.

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