|USUN Press Release|
July 31, 2007
Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, on the adoption of the hybrid force for Sudan, to the Security Council
As Prepared For Delivery
Released on August 1, 2007
The United States is pleased that the Security Council has mandated a United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping operation for the Darfur region of Sudan. This force, known as UNAMID, will have a strong mandate to protect civilians and support implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
This peacekeeping force of nearly 26,000 military personnel and police, which should begin deployment immediately, promises to play a critical role to end the suffering of the people of Darfur.
The human toll in Darfur has been staggering. More than 200,000 people have died from conflict, and more than two million people have been forced from their homes and villages into camps both inside and outside the country. These displaced people are highly vulnerable to attack, malnutrition, and disease, and they need our immediate help. The brutal treatment of innocent civilians in Darfur is unacceptable to the United States. Since 2005, the American people have given more than $2 billion to humanitarian relief and development.
The hybrid operation represents a new and unique form of cooperation between the UN and the African Union, and the passage of this resolution is the culmination of intense efforts by many in the international community over the past several months. It must now be implemented without delay.
In its initial phase, the hybrid operation will draw most of its forces from the existing AU Mission in Sudan known as AMIS, and from the UN Light and Heavy Support Packages of assistance to AMIS. The transfer of authority from AMIS to the hybrid operation must occur as soon as possible. The transition is imperative because it will combine the resources of the UN and the AU under a unified command and control. It will also allow additional hybrid forces to rapidly deploy and supplement the troops on the ground. This should take place well before December 31, 2007, and we call on the UN and the AU to take all necessary steps to expedite this transition.
This resolution gives UNAMID full authority under Chapter VII to use force to prevent armed attacks, to protect civilians, and to prevent any disruption of the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
In passing this resolution, the Council is entrusting UNAMID, its force commander, and its personnel to do their utmost to protect the civilian population of Darfur and we expect UNAMID to achieve this central objective.
It is imperative that the signatories to the Agreement, including the Government of Sudan, comply fully with their commitments. Among other things, the Darfur Peace Agreement prohibits all attacks, harassment, abduction, intimidation and injury to civilians, impeding humanitarian assistance or the protection of civilians, restriction on the free movement of people and goods, and all hostile propaganda and incitement to military action, and includes among its stated aims ensuring that civilians are not subject to violence, intimidation or threats.
Parties must comply with the requirements of this resolution, which, in turn, demands compliance with relevant agreements, including the Darfur Peace Agreement. We call on the Government
of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur to cooperate fully with the implementation of this resolution and all other relevant resolutions; to cease attacks against civilians immediately; to permit full and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance; and to engage fully in the political process led by the UN and the AU to promote peace. The United States will continue its efforts to promote a broadly supported and inclusive political settlement that is the only long-term solution to the crisis in Darfur.
We call on President Bashir to provide maximum cooperation with the deployment of the new peacekeeping force. We hope his acceptance of the force marks a new chapter in his cooperation with the international community. If Sudan does not comply with the Darfur Peace Agreement, and if Sudan does not comply with this resolution, the United States will move for the swift adoption of unilateral and multilateral measures.
Mr. Chairman, on May 29, President Bush made a promise to the people of Darfur. He said, "The United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world." Today, the Council has acted and taken a significant step toward ending that crisis by mandating the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Darfur. Now Sudan faces a choice. Sudan can choose the path of cooperation or defiance. Just as all eyes are on the Council to help protect the civilians of Darfur, so too are all eyes upon Sudan, and we look to its government to do the right thing and pursue the path of peace.