CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Evangelist Franklin Graham plans to travel to Sudan at the invitation of its Muslim government, which he has criticized for military actions against predominantly southern, Christian rebels.
Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham, said he was invited to visit Khartoum next week and meet with Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir as part of efforts to complete a peace agreement in Sudan's 20-year civil war. The conflict was blamed for more than 2 million deaths.
Graham credited President Bush for applying pressure that has brought Sudan's government to the table with the rebels.
''It's been a war between Muslims and Christians,'' Graham said, ''and it's been a terrible, terrible thing. ...
''This is a government I've been critical of, but I do commend them for the steps they've taken,'' Graham added. ''We may not agree as it comes to Islam. We may have a different faith, but we can live together in peace.''
Graham said the Sudanese government gave him clearance to travel anywhere in the country, to deliver 80,000 shoebox gifts as part of his annual Operation Christmas effort and speak about peace for 30 minutes on national television.
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