Hollywood film star George Clooney was last night due to brief US President Barack Obama about his recent trip to Sudan, on which he voiced fears of renewed war.
The actor was to meet Obama in the Oval Office, less than three weeks after the president made a personal plea on Sudan's future at high-level talks among world leaders in New York.
With just under 100 days to go until south Sudan votes on whether to stay united with the north or becomes an independent country, Sudan is on the brink of a new war which leaves hundreds of thousands of ordinary people at grave risk.
The vote, expected to lean towards independence, is part of a 2005 peace deal to end two decades of conflict between the north east African country’s Muslim north and Christian south, in which some 1.5 million people died.
Oceans 11 star, “Clooney will be here to discuss his recent trip and the president will be in the Oval to discuss the steps that we are taking," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
"We are having an intensive process around Sudan," he told reporters last night.
The actor, 49, said that a civil war could be stopped in Sudan, but it would take diplomatic action from the rest of the world.
"We stopped it in 2005, we stopped the north-south war and we stopped it with diplomacy,” he told NBC television. “We didn't stop it with soldiers. If we get involved now we have a shot."
"It doesn't matter what I believe, because obviously I'm an actor," said the star who has set up his own internet campaign for intervention. "The Secretary of State said it's a ticking time bomb. The CIA said this is the next genocide if we're not careful – it is the biggest risk. The president has said as much."
He adds: "Everyone acknowledges that this is what is going to take place if someone doesn't moderate and mediate. …I'm just trying to say it as loud as possible."
President Barack Obama warned the United Nations last month that the fate of millions of people in Sudan hangs in the balance.
"What happens in Sudan in the days ahead may decide whether people who have endured too much war move towards peace or slip backwards to bloodshed," Obama said.
"What happens in Sudan matters to all of sub-Saharan Africa and it matters to the world."