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Mia Farrow Offer to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir

Mia Farrow, 62, in a letter to Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, posted on her website:

“Suleiman Jamous is greatly respected by humanitarians like myself for his selfless commitment to the people of Darfur and his respect for human rights. Colleagues in Sudan tells me that his enforced absence from relief work has made access negotiations to volatile rebel-controlled areas less certain and more complicated.

“As you are undoubtedly aware, Mr. Jamous is in need of a medical procedure that cannot be carried out in Kadugli. His absence from Arusha is an impediment to progress in the peace process to which your government has said it is committed.

“I am therefore offering to take Mr. Jamouss' place, to exchange my freedom for his in the knowledge of his importance to the civilians of Darfur and in the conviction that he will apply his energies toward creating the just and lasting peace that the Sudanese people deserve and hope for.”

Suleiman Jamous, in his mid-60s, is a Darfur rebel leader who has been an important link between several rebel factions and aid workers in Sudan. Jamous, who has been suffering from abdominal problems, is at a U.N. hospital in the Darfur area. He fears he'll be arrested or suffer reprisals if he leaves the hospital.

According to a Voice of America report, more than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million been chased from their homes in Darfur since 2003. The conflict is ethnic-religious: The Sudanese central government is Muslim Arab and so are the rampaging militias, whereas the rebels are mostly animistic or Christian Sub-Saharan African farmers. (Farrow offers a timeline of the Darfur crisis on her site. Also, check out the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees website.)

Mia Farrow, who has visited Darfur twice, is a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, the United Nations' children's agency. According to the Voice of America report, “UNICEF spokeswoman Kate Donovan said Monday that the organization was 'not aware that Mia Farrow had written the letter to the president of the Republic of Sudan under her UNICEF goodwill ambassador title, and we'd like to consult with her before we make a comment.'"


         
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