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mia farrow

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January 5, 2009


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President George W. Bush announced on Monday the airlift of equipment and vehicles for the humanitarian effort in Darfur, the violence-plagued western Sudan region where millions of civilians have been driven from their homes.

The move is intended to help a joint African Union-United Nations team save lives by improving the delivery of humanitarian aid. The 26,000-strong peacekeeping force in Darfur has struggled with a lack of troops and transport.

Sitting with Sudan's first vice president, Salva Kiir, in the Oval Office, Bush said he waived State Department requirements in order to launch the airlift right away.

Rebels who claim they have been neglected and marginalized by Sudan's central government took up arms in the Darfur region in early 2003. Attempts to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table or to broker cease-fires have failed, and so far up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes.

International mediators pushing for new negotiations on Darfur are being hampered by divisions among Darfur's rebels and by some rebels' hopes that genocide charges will bring down Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir. Bush said Kiir, the southern Sudan leader, is ''taking the lead in helping the rebels come together, so that there would be a more unified voice in negotiating -- hopefully negotiating -- a peace with the Bashir government.''

Meanwhile, the ICC indictment of Sudanese Pres. Omer Al-Bashir is said to be imminent. In South Darfur there was a mock evacuation for NGO’s —600 people in less than one hour. Planes are standing by in both Addis and Angola to airlift aid workers out of Darfur-probably to Entibbe.
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