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Fact Sheet
African Affairs
Washington, DC
October 1, 2007

The U.S. Response to the Darfur Crisis

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Updated Version: April 2008 | Previous Version: September 2007

Authorization of a Peacekeeping Force

The United States is deeply concerned about the violence in Darfur, which includes unconscionable attacks against innocent civilians, humanitarian workers, and peacekeepers. The people of Darfur have suffered for too long at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder, and rape of innocent civilians.

In the face of increasing instability, the United Nations-African Union (UN-AU) hybrid peacekeeping force authorized by the United Nations Security Council on July 31 must deploy to Darfur rapidly.

Almost 20,000 military personnel and more than 6,000 police will form the core of the force, whose mission is to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and to ensure peace and security.

Under resolution 1769, adopted by the UN Security Council on July 31, the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force must assume authority from the African Union mission currently in Darfur no later than December 31, 2007. In the meantime, the United States will continue to urge all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate cease-fire and to provide protection and improved access to humanitarian workers.

Political Settlement Is Key

Transcending these efforts is the need to achieve a political settlement in Darfur. Peace in Darfur, and in Sudan as a whole, rests on the implementation of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended 21 years of civil war in Sudan, and on the agreement by all parties involved in the Darfur conflict to a negotiated political settlement.

Full implementation of both agreements has been too slow. Implementation would enable the people of Sudan to address the resource allocation and power-sharing grievances that are at the root of the country’s conflicts. It also would pave the way for free and fair national elections in late 2009.

U.S. Diplomacy and Sanctions

President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, and others have spoken urgently and repeatedly with their international counterparts about Darfur. Last year, President Bush appointed Andrew Natsios as his Special Envoy on Sudan in order to energize diplomatic solutions to the Darfur crisis. The U.S. also has encouraged China to use its influence with Khartoum to work for a peaceful political settlement.

On May 29, 2007, responding to Sudanese President Bashir’s continued refusal to honor his commitments to end the violence in Darfur, President Bush ordered the U.S. Department of the Treasury to block the assets of three Sudanese individuals involved in the violence and to sanction 31 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan.

The sanctions are designed to increase the political pressure on Khartoum to end the violence, and supplement sanctions that the United States has maintained on Sudan since 1997. Those sanctions include restrictions on imports from and exports to Sudan, an asset freeze against the government of Sudan, and a prohibition on U.S. arms sales or transfers to Sudan.

“The brutal treatment of innocent civilians in Darfur is unacceptable — it is unacceptable to me, it is unacceptable to Americans, it’s unacceptable to the United Nations. This status quo must not continue.” – President George W. Bush

U.S. Support for Darfur Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance

  • Provision of over $4 billion in humanitarian, peacekeeping, and development assistance to the people of Sudan and Eastern Chad since 2005.
  • Funding of 25% of the cost of the hybrid UN-AU Darfur peacekeeping operation.
  • Construction and maintenance of 34 Darfur base camps for the over 7,000 AU peacekeepers.
  • Provision of 40,000 metric tons of food aid monthly, as the largest food donor.

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