January 7, 2007, 10:48 AM EST
KHARTOUM, Sudan -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got a bleak assessment of the deteriorating situation in Darfur as he arrived in the Sudanese capital Sunday, hoping to lay the groundwork for peace in the region.
On a 17-hour overnight flight, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations worked on a plan to broker a cease-fire, continue the flow of humanitarian aide and persuade Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to allow U.N. peacekeepers.
On arrival, Cameron Hume, the top U.S. diplomat in Sudan, laid out Richardson's challenge. "I don't think anybody's strategy is working," Hume told Richardson at the airport.
Richardson, a few advisers and officials with humanitarian groups flew aboard a private jet for the trip arranged by the Save Darfur Coalition. The group asked for Richardson's help in trying to improve the situation in Darfur because he has negotiated successfully with al-Bashir in the past.
Richardson planned to meet with the president on Monday, then fly to Darfur on Tuesday to see rebel leaders.
"I'm not discouraged," Richardson said after the briefing from Hume. "I think we make some measurable progress if we can help the cease-fire and the humanitarian situation and possibly start a united political process that helps the U.N. peacekeeping effort alive."
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