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Clinton, McCain, Obama Label Darfur Situation Genocide

Finally, something all three remaining major party candidates can agree on: Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama have signed on to a statement and newspaper ad characterizing the actions by the government of Sudan in Darfur as "genocide."

The ad, which appeared this morning on page A-11 of the New York Times, is dominated by the word, which appears in all capital letters in large print. Underneath the ad reads, "We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end," after which the signatures of all three candidates appear.

An umbrella group called the Save Darfur Coalition paid for the ad.

"Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide between us," a statement released today by the coalition on behalf of the three candidates said. "...It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush Administration. If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, 2009, we pledge that the next administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve."

There are no calls for any specific policy changes towards the Sudanese government in the statement, which includes the promise that, for the time being, the candidates "will use our standing as Senators to press for the steps needed to ensure that the United States honors, in practice and in deed, its commitment to the cause of peace and protection of Darfur's innocent citizenry."

As the Associated Press notes:

Fighting has raged in Darfur since 2003, when ethnic African tribesman took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by the Sudanese Arab-dominated government. The Sudanese government is accused of unleashing janjaweed militia forces to commit atrocities against ethnic African communities in the fight with rebel groups. The government denies the accusations.

More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced in Darfur. President Bush has also labeled the situation there genocide.