Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Darfur: Peace Deal? White House briefing.

| 2 Comments

Maybe, maybe, some progress on the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan...

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release May 8, 2006

Darfur Agreement: A Step Toward Peace


Last Friday, The Government Of Sudan And The Largest Darfur Rebel Group
Signed An Agreement And Took A Step Toward Peace. We are still far from
our ultimate goal of returning millions of displaced people to their
homes so they can have a life without fear, but we can now see a way
forward. The President is particularly grateful for the leadership of
President Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Sassou-Nguesso of the
Republic of the Congo.

The President Has Called The Massive Violence An Act Of Genocide - No
Other Word Captures The Extent Of This Tragedy. A 22-year civil war
between north and south took more than 2 million lives before a peace
agreement that the United States helped to broker was signed early last
year. At about the same time, another conflict was raging to the west -
in Sudan's vast Darfur region. Darfur rebel groups had attacked
government outposts. To fight that rebellion, Sudan's regime armed and
unleashed a horse-mounted militia called the Janjaweed, which targeted
not only the rebels but the tribes thought to be supporting them. The
Janjaweed murdered men and raped women and beat children to death and
burned homes and farms and poisoned wells, stole land to graze their own
herds, and destroyed hundreds of villages. About 200,000 people have
died from conflict, famine, and disease, and more than 2 million were
forced into camps. A ceasefire was declared in this conflict in April
2004, but it has been routinely violated by all sides.

With This Peace Agreement, Darfur Has A Chance To Begin Anew. Sudan's
government has promised to disarm the Janjaweed by mid-October, and to
punish all those who violate the ceasefire. The main rebel group has
agreed to withdraw into specified areas. Its forces will eventually be
disarmed as well, and some of its units will be integrated into the
national army and police. The African Union will meet a week from
today, and the President urges its members to help implement this
agreement.

The President's Plan To Assist Darfur Has Two Critical Components:

First, America And Other Nations Must Act To Prevent A Humanitarian
Emergency. America is the leading provider of humanitarian aid, and
this year alone we account for more than 85 percent of the food
distributed by the World Food Program in Sudan. The situation, however,
remains dire.

* The United States Has Met Its Commitment - But Other Major Donors
Have Not Come Through. The World Food Program has issued an appeal for
funds necessary to feed 6 million people over the next several months.
The United States has met our commitment - but other major donors have
not come through. As a result, this month the World Food Program was
forced to cut rations by half. The President has proposed, in the
emergency supplemental before Congress, to increase food aid to Sudan by
another $225 million. The President hopes Congress will act swiftly on
this true emergency.

* The President Is Directing The Federal Government To Take
Numerous Actions To Provide Relief To The People Of Darfur. The
President has directed USAID to ship emergency food stockpiles, and he
has ordered five ships to be loaded with food and to proceed immediately
to Port Sudan. The President has ordered the emergency purchase of
another 40,000 metric tons of food for rapid shipment to Sudan. These
actions will allow the World Food Program to restore full food rations
to the people of Darfur this summer. Americans who wish to contribute
money to help deliver relief to the people of Darfur can find
information about how to do so by going to the USAID website at
www.USAID.gov and clicking on the section
marked "Helping the Sudanese People."

* The European Union - And Nations Like Canada, The United Kingdom,
The Netherlands, And Japan - Have Taken Leadership On Other Humanitarian
Issues, And The People Of Darfur Urgently Need More Of Their Help Now.
In addition, the government of Sudan must allow all UN agencies to do
their work without hindrance by removing the visa and travel
restrictions that complicate relief efforts. And all sides must cease
attacks on relief workers.

Second, America And Other Nations Must Work Quickly To Increase Security
On The Ground In Darfur.

* America Is Working With NATO Members To Increase Security In
Darfur. America is working with our NATO allies to support the African
Union forces in Darfur with immediate assistance in the form of
planning, logistics, intelligence support, and other help, and the
President urges members of the alliance to contribute to this effort.

* America Is Working With The UN To Increase Security In Darfur.
The African Union troops must be the core of a larger military force
that is more mobile and more capable, generates better intelligence -
and is given a clear mandate to protect civilians from harm. So the
President is dispatching Secretary Rice to address the United Nations
Security Council tomorrow and to request a resolution that will
accelerate the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers into Darfur.

* We Are Working With The UN To Identify Countries That Can
Contribute Troops To This Peacekeeping Effort. The President has called
President Bashir of Sudan, both to commend him on his work for this
agreement, and to urge his government to express clear support for the
UN force. The vulnerable people of Darfur deserve the active protection
that UN peacekeepers are called to provide.

While America Is Providing Aid To The Suffering People In Darfur, Al
Qaeda Wants To Add To The Misery By Killing Those Who Want Only To Help.
In a recent audiotape, Osama Bin Laden attacked American efforts in
Sudan and urged his followers to kill international peacekeepers in
Darfur. While the terrorists are attempting to exploit the misery of
fellow Muslims and encourage more death, America and other responsible
nations are fighting misery and helping a desperate region come back to
life. The contrast could not be clearer.

# # #

T

2 Comments

I am very proud of our country's efforts in aiding the people of Sudan. The President has taken a strong leadership role and should be commended for his attention to this genocide. Americe should, and has before, come to the aid of people under tyranny when possible.

I have read your article about the moving on Darfur, and i must say it is very thoughtful of you and I really appreciate the effort of the White House to settle this issue, but how long would African States learn from their mistakes? I am an African and it is very shameful crying every now and then for help from other nations. how long would we sit in inferiority and demand other nations to come to our aid? Do we not have a single sensible person amongst us? must we always fight ourselves and expect other nations to intervene? we should know by now thatthose nations have their own problems to solve.
We have everything in Africa, yet we lack everything. those who have "devoted" themselves to lead our nations should be honest and not avaricious, but they must make good use of our wealth. The saying goes that, a hungry man is an angry man. Once everybody eats there will be peace.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 8, 2006 4:45 PM.

Bush: Names Gen. Michael Hayden to lead CIA. Durbin says pick ``troubling.'' Should a military man head the CIA? was the previous entry in this blog.

Patrick Kennedy: In his own words. Transcript of statement on addiction and depression. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.