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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration will unveil a Sudan policy on Monday that calls for pressure and incentives to encourage Khartoum to pursue peace in Darfur and resolve disputes in south Sudan, The Washington Post said.
Citing administration officials briefed on the plan, the newspaper reported on Friday that Washington would also urge Sudan to increase its cooperation in the fight against international terrorism.
The Post said the policy would address a dispute within the White House about how to describe the violence in the western region of Darfur. Washington will maintain that genocide is "taking place" there despite comments earlier this year by President Barack Obama's special envoy that Sudan was no longer engaging in mass murder in the region.
U.N. officials say up to 300,000 people have died and more than 2 million have been driven from their homes in six years of ethnic and political violence in Darfur. Khartoum says 10,000 have died.
The new U.S. policy, reached after lengthy debate, represents a softening of Obama's position since his presidential campaign last year, when he urged tougher sanctions and a no-fly zone to prevent Sudanese jets from bombing villages in Darfur, the paper said.
It said the policy would be announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and the special envoy, Scott Gration.
Rice pressed for a tougher line on Sudan, while Gration called for an easing of U.S. sanctions, the paper said.
The new policy would not authorise Gration, a retired Air Force general with broad experience in the region, to negotiate directly with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Post said. It added that there were also no immediate plans to remove Sudan from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The policy would give Sudan a path to better relations with Washington if it began to deal with U.S. concerns.
Bashir, who seized power in 1989, is seeking re-election in April despite an International Criminal Court warrant against him for suspected war crimes while fighting mostly non-Arab rebels in Darfur.
He signed a peace deal with south Sudan in 2005 that ended a decades-long civil war that killed 2 million people. But there has been increased intertribal violence in the south this year.
(Writing by Peter Cooney; editing by Todd Eastham)