Rock star and activist Bono expressed hope Thursday that a peace agreement could be coming for the Sudanese region of Darfur.
“We just got news on this very day that there’s a potential breakthrough,” Bono said during a speech to The Economic Club of Grand Rapids. “I ask you to pray for their success.”
Decades of tribal clashes over land and water in Darfur erupted into large-scale violence in early 2003, with rebels demanding regional autonomy. The central government is accused of responding by unleashing militias upon civilians, a charge that Sudan denies.
At least 180,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million have been forced to flee their homes in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Sudanese rebels cautiously welcomed U.S.-backed proposals to salvage a peace agreement for Darfur on Thursday. The international community urged them to finally accept the deal.
About 2,000 people attended the sold-out annual dinner, which was open only to club members and their guests. Tickets cost $150 each. Past speakers include former Secretary of State Colin Powell.