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President Bush warned Sudan's president on Wednesday that he has one last chance to stop violence in Darfur or else the United States will impose sanctions and consider other punitive options.
Bush said he has decided to give U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon more time to pursue diplomacy with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir but made clear in a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum that his patience is limited.
By the spring of 2004, several thousand people — mostly from the non-Arab population — had been killed and as many as a million more had been driven from their homes, causing a major humanitarian crisis in the region. The crisis took on an international dimension when over 100,000 refugees poured into neighbouring Chad, pursued by Janjaweed militiamen, who clashed with Chadian government forces along the border. More than 70 militiamen and 10 Chadian soldiers were killed in one gun battle in April. A United Nations observer team reported that non-Arab villages were singled out while Arab villages were left untouched.:
International attention to the Darfur conflict largely began with reports by the advocacy organizations Amnesty International in July 2003 and the International Crisis Group in December 2003. However, widespread media coverage did not start until the outgoing United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, called Darfur the "world's greatest humanitarian crisis" in March 2004. A movement advocating for humanitarian intervention has emerged in several countries since then.
Gérard Prunier, a scholar specializing in African conflicts, argues that the world's most powerful countries have largely limited their response to expressions of concern and demands that the United Nations take action. The UN, lacking both the funding and military support of the wealthy countries, has left the African Union to deploy a token force (AMIS) without a mandate to protect civilians. In the lack of foreign political will to address the political and economic structures that underlie the conflict, the international community has defined the Darfur conflict in humanitarian assistance terms and debated the "genocide" label.