Franklin Graham: Statement on Sudan President Omar al-Bashir
March 5, 2009 - KHARTOUM, Sudan — March 4, 2009 — This morning I met with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.
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We had a frank discussion on religious freedom, human rights, extended focus on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the complexities of Darfur.
I challenged him, in light of the pending charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC), to stand up for peace.
Immediately after meeting with President al-Bashir, I flew to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to meet with First Vice President Salva Kiir.
We openly discussed the dangers the entire country faces in light of the ICC judgment and agree that peace in Sudan is far more important than the need to arrest the president.
While President al-Bashir should be brought to justice, President Kiir and I share grave concerns about the real and dangerous effects of the action.
As our meeting in Juba concluded, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Millions of lives throughout Sudan, not just Darfur, will be at risk if the already-fragile government is destabilized and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) unravels. The already-desperate situation could turn disastrous.
I urge President Obama to appoint a full-time, special envoy to Sudan and work toward full diplomatic relations. Since the CPA was signed, there have been significant gains for peace.
As unpleasant as it may be to deal with an indicted criminal, the world can not afford to let this progress unravel. Now is a time for Christians worldwide to pray for peace in Sudan.
Franklin Graham visited Darfur Monday, where about 3 million people have been displaced from their homesteads and villages in what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
"My desire is to show God's love for people by helping them,” he said in an interview with local media. “We want to work for all of Sudan. We want to help Christians, Muslims, people of no faith—we want to help them all.
"We want to show the love of God—the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—to each and every person in this country. We want to work toward peace.”
In Darfur, Graham met mothers with malnourished children, medical personnel, government leaders, and the staff of the largest ongoing relief project of Samaritan’s Purse. He also presented a Bible and shared the Gospel with the deputy wali (governor) of South Darfur, Dr. Frah.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SUDAN
- Making a Difference in Sudan »
- The Price of Peace in Sudan »
- The Key to Peace »
- A Lost Boy of Sudan Tells His Story of Survival and Faith »