George Clooney Pushes Darfur Cause on Obama

One-on-one follows the actor’s week-long visit to the embattled country

Last Updated: October 12, 2010 @ 6:26 PM

George Clooney was at the White House on Tuesday to talk with the President Obama about the actor’s recent trip to Sudan.

The meeting followed Clooney’s more than week-long visit, much of it with John Prendergast, who co-founded the Enough Project, which fights against genocide. Prendergast accompanied Clooney to the White House.

After the meeting, Clooney told reporters he was impressed by how much the president knew about Sudan's issues. He said the president was committed to limiting violence before Sudan's election.

In a statement, the White House said that President Obama "underscored the intensity of the United States’ efforts to ensure that the upcoming Sudan referendum be held on time and to urge the parties to choose the path of peace over renewed violence."

Clooney, Prendergast and the President all agreed that northern and southern Sudanese leaders must refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and continue negotiating in good faith in order to secure peace for the Sudanese people, the statement said.      

In a "Today Show" interview on Monday announcing the impending meet with Obama, Clooney said he wants to urge countries to step in and help to fight genocide in Sudan.

“If I said to you right now that there’s going to be an earthquake, that 200,000 people are going to be killed, what would you do?” he said Clooney. “Well this isn’t a natural disaster. This is man-made. It can be stopped.”

He said diplomacy could help secure peace for the region.

The meeting comes as the group Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman, Jerry Weintraub formed for humanitarian work, Not On Our Watch, urged people to email President Obama to urge he do something about Sudan.

“If you had 90 days to prevent another Darfur, what would you do?” asks the group’s website.

“On January 9th, Southern Sudan will vote for its independence. The country is currently led by an indicted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir. Both north and south are preparing for war, leaving civilians at grave risk of major human rights violations.

“Send a message to President Obama asking him to act now.”