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Latest update : 2008-02-13

American film director Steven Spielberg has abandoned his role as artistic advisor for the Beijing Olympics, saying China is not doing enough to pressure Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.

US film maker Steven Spielberg said Tuesday he was abandoning his artistic role in the Beijing Olympics, accusing China of not doing enough to press its ally Sudan to end devastating violence in Darfur.
"I have decided to formally announce the end of my involvement as one of the overseas artistic advisors to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games," Spielberg said in a statement.
"Sudan's government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these on-going crimes but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing human suffering there" in Darfur.
"I have made repeated efforts to encourage the Chinese government to use its unique influence to bring safety and stability to the Darfur region of Sudan."
The United Nations estimates that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the western Sudanese region since 2003, when a civil conflict erupted pitting government-backed Arab militias against ethnic black groups.
China is a major economic partner of Sudan, and its ties with Khartoum have been regarded as a sticking point in international efforts to pressure the Sudanese government to ease the crisis.
"My conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual," Spielberg said.
"At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

Date created : 2008-02-12