US presidential candidates pledge to seek an end to violence in Darfur

In a rare show of bipartisan unity, the three US presidential candidates lent their names to a newspaper ad Wednesday accusing the Sudanese government of genocide in the Darfur region and urging an end to the violence. Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton joined with Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain in signing the ad in The New York Times headlined "GENOCIDE." "We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end," the ad says, followed by the candidates' signatures. The ad says the candidates have also pledged to seek an end to the violence in Darfur if elected. The ad was paid for by SaveDarfur, which describes itself on its Web site as an alliance of over 180 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations. 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 Sudanese government in Khartoum denies the accusations. More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced in Darfur. President Bush has labeled the situation there genocide.