April 23, 2008
U.S. Response to the Situation in Darfur
Previous Version - October 2007
“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
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 hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) authorized by the United Nations Security Council on July 31 must deploy 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 UNAMID assumed authority from the African Union mission in Sudan (AMIS) on December 31, 2007 and deployment is on-going. 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. In January 2008, President Bush confirmed the appointment of Ambassador Richard S. Williamson as his Special Envoy to Sudan in order to energize diplomatic solutions to the Darfur crisis. The U.S. has also 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 and one company involved in the violence and to sanction 30 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan. This list currently includes seven individuals and more than 160 companies.
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.
In October 2006, President Bush signed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (DPAA) underscoring U.S. economic sanctions on the Government of Sudan, but also lessening restrictions on the Government of Southern Sudan, Darfur, the Three Areas, and some areas in and around Khartoum.
U.S. Support for Darfur Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance