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Is Obama's new Sudan policy too soft?

Human rights groups say Obama's Sudan policy is soft, but African leaders warn that US policy is too tough and may prompt a regional backlash.

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Reaction to Obama's new "integrated" Sudan policy of incentives and possible punitive measures against the Islamist regime of President Omar al-Bashir was mixed on Monday, with human rights defenders warning that the new strategy risked being too soft and African leaders saying the West's overall approach to Sudan may provoke a backlash.

On Monday, the Enough Project – an anti-genocide lobby group based in Washington – warned against any "softening" of the US government's pressure on Sudan, and urged Obama to make Sudan a top priority on his upcoming visit to Beijing next month. China is one of Sudan's top trading partners, and the chief investor in Sudan's oil industry.

"Absent an official policy line, [US Sudan envoy Scott Gration] has had the leeway to implement an approach that many longtime Sudan watchers, including Enough, feel is inappropriately soft on Khartoum," the Enough Project wrote in a press statement on Monday morning.

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