Support for the People of DarfurJendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
Remarks to the Save Darfur Rally on the Mall
April 30, 2006
As Prepared | Photos of Rally
Thank you for being here! Thank you for being here to show your support for the people of Darfur, to raise your voice, against, injustice, to focus world attention, to end the outrage, and to urge action, to stop the atrocities, taking place in Darfur.
Many of us wear a green band on our wrist, symbolizing our commitment to not allow genocide in Darfur on our watch. It reads, Not on Our Watch. That quote, comes from President Bush in the early days of his first term. He was concerned for the people of Burundi who in 2001/2002 were by the hundreds of thousands in camps and vulnerable to marauding rebels and killers. The President devised a strategy to prevent mass violence working with African mediators and AU peacekeepers and eventually United Nations peacekeepers to save lives. The Strategy Worked. We can end the violence in Darfur. Our strategy worked to prevent a potential genocide in Burundi and it worked to end the 22 year North-South war in Sudan that killed more than two million. Our strategy will work in Darfur .
First, we must hold the Government of Sudan and rebels accountable to end the violence. They must conclude the Abuja negotiations for a peace agreement. They are close. The Accord will help end the marginalization of the people of Darfur . All sides militias, government, rebels are responsible for the violence and must honor their ceasefire commitments.
I've sat with the SLA leaders Mini Minnawi and Abdul Wahid Nur in the sand of Darfur negotiating with them to go to Abuja as a united movement. They, at this moment, are negotiating a peace agreement for Darfur that can save lives. They must do what is right and responsible now.
Second, the United States will continue to support and strengthen the African Union Mission and facilitate its transition to a larger more robust UN peacekeeping mission. President Bush months ago led the diplomacy offering NATO assistance to continue supporting the AU and a follow-on UN operation to save lives in Darfur . The UN is poised to accept that offer at the request of the AU.
Third, the United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance. Your government provides eight percent of the food provided by the World Food Program. Your government has provided $1.3 billion to support humanitarian and security efforts to protect innocent lives in Darfur.
The Strategy Is Working but We Must Continue Pushing for Faster International Action. We have interests that are indisputable: We will not allow the killing to continue. We must stop the spread of instability throughout the region. We must protect the gains of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending the 22-year North-South war. Bottom-Line: We must protect the human dignity and lives of the people in danger. The United States will continue to lead.
The ghost of Rwanda hangs over our heads. But 2006 is not 1994. Then many countries, including the U.S. Administration, urged the UN to leave Rwanda . President Bush has not avoided the word GENOCIDE as was the case in 1994.
Today, the Bush Administration has led the charge for robust UN action to prevent genocide in Darfur . We have pushed for more than 9 UNSC Resolutions under Chapter 7 authority. We are the only government to call the atrocities a genocide. We will continue to mobilize international assistance and action.
I commend you for raising international awareness to help build the community of conscience on a global scale. This is not a partisan issue. Let's keep politics out and build on the uniting of people across faiths, races, parties, and nations to take up our universal responsibility to bring peace to Darfur .
The World Hears Your Voice -- Those in the corridors of power in Khartoum who must act responsibly; Those Sudanese Government officials and rebels in Abuja negotiating for peace in Darfur; The many diplomats making decision in New York and Addis Ababa.
This rally and your participation represent the best of our country.