Saturday, January 19, 2008

George Clooney as Peacemaker?

No, its not a sequel to his 1997 film, but a request from a rebel group in Nigeria.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has asked Clooney to mediate in negotiations with the government of Nigeria. For the past two years MEND has been fighting against government forces in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region. MEND wants a greater share of oil revenues spent in the poor Delta region. As part of their campaign MEND has attacked oil production installations and kidnapped foreigners working for oil companies.

Experts believe the rebel attacks have cut Nigeria’s oil output by as much as 20%, which has driven oil prices around the world higher. Nigeria’s government has been reluctant to let outsiders intervene in the Delta region, though recently they have begun talks with the rebels.

MEND’s request for Clooney to mediate is because he was recently named a United Nations “Messenger for Peace.” Clooney received the honor for his efforts to bring international attention to the ongoing atrocities being committed in the Darfur region of Sudan.

No word yet on whether Clooney will take MEND up on their offer.
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