The National Association of Evangelicals and other members of the Interfaith Sudan Working Group will meet White House officials today to press for action on President Obama’s commitment to work for lasting peace in Sudan.

“Sudan is entering a critical period with national elections in 2010 and a status referendum on southern Sudan in 2011,” said Galen Carey, NAE Director of Government Affairs. “If the fragile Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is not strongly supported by the international community, with strategic leadership from the United States, Sudan could plunge into another deadly cycle of war, with devastating consequences for the Sudanese people and destabilizing impact throughout the region.”

In Darfur and neighboring Chad, millions of refugees languish in camps, unable to return to their homes and farms due to continuing insecurity and rampant banditry. In southern Sudan, a fledgling government struggles to provide basic services and to contain tribal tensions, which have long been stoked by the national government in Khartoum.

World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the NAE, has been working in Sudan since 1998, providing emergency relief, community health and agricultural assistance. Since 2004 World Relief has also been working in West Darfur.

The NAE has worked for years to draw attention to the humanitarian and human rights crises in Sudan, passing a resolution on genocide in 1999 and a statement of conscience in 2002. The statements recognize the responsibilities of both individuals and government.

“Much has been accomplished through private humanitarian aid, but the CPA was achieved through focused diplomatic leadership by the United States, working with international partners,” said Carey, who supervised relief programs in Sudan and neighboring countries from 2000-2002. “Some of this hard-won success has been squandered through inadequate follow up in recent years. We need President Obama to reengage, to keep his commitments, and to provide the necessary strategic leadership. The lives and well-being of millions of Sudanese are at stake.”