George Clooney on Threat of Conflict in Sudan

Clooney warns of imminent civil war in Sudan without diplomatic action.

Oct. 13, 2010 -- George Clooney dropped by "Good Morning America" today to raise awareness about the possible renewal of civil war in Sudan because of an impending vote for independence by the southern half of the African nation.

He recently returned from a week-long trip to southern Sudan, a region that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls "a ticking time bomb."

"They want to vote for their freedom and they're going to vote for their freedom; their freedom and independence," Clooney said of the region. "They believe they've earned it. They're hoping for protection but they are resolute in their intent for freedom."

"Our job is to sound all the alarms and say before this becomes bloodshed. This is an opportunity to stop it before it happens."

Clooney met with President Obama Tuesday to discuss what could happen when the vote takes place in less than three months. Clooney told "GMA" the president is "very much involved" in the concern about Sudan.

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The region is torn from 21 years of a civil war that has killed about 2 million people, according to the U.S. State Department. Clooney is concerned that without immediate diplomatic action from the United States, Sudan is on its way to resuming the bloody conflict.

The Oscar winner isn't the only one concerned. In the past week, both the U.N. Security Council and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have visited the region.

Both organizations are trying to intervene before a Jan. 9 referendum to decide whether animist and Christian south Sudan should secede from the Muslim north, and which side will obtain ownership of the oil-rich region of Abyei.

Clooney Urges Diplomatic, Grassroots Action

Clooney is making an urgent plea for "robust" diplomatic action, which he believes can prevent further conflict. To that end, he met with Obama and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, Tuesday before making a presentation to the Council on Foreign Relations that night.

During his trip, Clooney traveled to remote, conflict-prone areas of southern Sudan. With him was human rights activist John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, an anti-genocide advocacy group, and co-author of "The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa's Worst Human Rights Crimes." Prendergast also appeared on "Good Morning America" today.

Clooney first visited the region in 2008 with his father when he shot a film on the genocide in Darfur to teach Americans about the conflict. This time he is stepping in before the conflict starts. He hopes Americans everywhere will lend a hand to extend the fragile peace.

"We're asking people over the United States, and there were constituencies that moved the needle on Darfur, based in religious communities, based in universities and high schools," he said. "So we're asking people to stand up again and let President Obama know it's OK, in this electoral season, to do all that you can diplomatically. It's not going to cost us anything."

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