George Clooney to Obama: Seize the 'opportunity' for Darfur peace

After touring Darfur refugee camps in eastern Chad last week, Hollywood heartthrob and two-time "sexiest man alive" George Clooney met separately with both President Obama and Vice President Biden on Monday night.

Mr. Clooney says he urged the two to seize the opportunity for Darfur peace that he says could arise with the International Criminal Court's decision next week on whether to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges. (Read Monitor Africa Bureau Chief Scott Baldauf's story on Mr. Bashir's efforts to gain diplomatic support.)

Clooney then told reporters that Mr. Obama would appoint high-level, full-time envoy to Darfur.

Later, Clooney appeared on CNN's Larry King Live, pointing out that he'd worked with Obama on Darfur three years ago and that Mr. Biden "has been very vocal on the issue."

Clooney said of his conversations with Obama and Biden: "Basically, we were just talking about coming back from Chad and right on the border of Darfur. And we were talking about there's a moment coming up relatively soon – probably by the middle of next week – where the International Criminal Court is going to indict the president of Sudan for war crimes, which has never happened before – a sitting president."

The Tinseltown star even laid out priorities for Obama and Biden, according to CNN:

• An envoy working full time on bringing peace to Darfur – someone "getting up every morning with their sole job to find peace in the area," he said.
• Persuading China to leverage its investment muscle in Darfur to push for peace.
• Pressing Egypt, the African Union, and Europe to strengthen diplomatic efforts in the region.

That last one should be difficult. At least the Egypt part.

As the latest Monitor story points out, Egypt on Sunday issued its support of Bashir's bid to stall the ICC ruling for a year.

But Clooney may be on to something.

Video of his recent trip to eastern Chad with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof can be seen on MSNBC.

Not to be missed is one particular clip of Clooney considering filming roommate Mr. Kristof returning to their small room in eastern Chad after taking a bucket shower. Oh, that George!

Thankfully, he decided against the move.

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