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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of African Affairs > Releases > Remarks > 2004: African Affairs Remarks

Remarks by Ambassador John Danforth on the Situation in the Sudan

Ambassador John Danforth, U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Security Council Press Stakeout
New York
July 28, 2004

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: I think very useful. I think there is a universal recognition that the Darfur is a disaster that the government of Sudan is culpable, and that action on a very short timeframe is essential.

Reporter: (inaudible) sanctions, is that something that the United States would go for?

Ambassador Danforth: What we are talking about is starting the clock ticking and with the passage of the resolution the thirty-day clock would start, and that would in turn be renewed every month. That is really crucial, and the question to be asked on a regular monthly schedule is: is the government of Sudan in compliance with the commitments that it made in the joint communiqué, if it is not in compliance then something has to follow. Now what would follow necessarily? And my opinion is that we would have to consider sanctions. So the answer to the question is clearly if there is not compliance by the government of Sudan on such a clocklike mechanism as this then the Security Council would have to act and that those actions would have to include sanctions.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: Well, I think it would have to be clear to the government of Sudan that what we mean is sanctions. Now if you want it – you know, I think it was Alfred Kahn who was told he can’t use the word inflation he had to use the word banana. So if you wanted to use the word banana, so long as it’s clear it equals sanctions. The meaning has to be clear on this clocklike mechanism, sanctions is going to be before the Security Council.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: All I can tell you is what was discussed in the Council and nothing of the kind was discussed.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: I don’t underestimate the ability of the government of Sudan to give half a loaf to anything

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: So what we would have to do is on this thirty day clock is make an assessment of what they’ve done. Now what they’ve done since July 3rd, since they issued the joint communiqué with the Secretary General is they’ve done something -- they purported to increase humanitarian access and did so to an extent, but the security situation has gotten worse, not better. And they claim that they’ve arrested some people, and punished some people. Well, does that really provide for more security or not? So what we would have to do is to take a very, very realistic view of what they’ve done, not what they’ve promised to do, not the cosmetic approach that they might take, but the reality.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: Yes it’s something we certainly welcome, the participation of the African Union by providing monitors, by protecting the monitors, and now by indicating that they do more than that and actually protect the people. So, that would be very positive.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: Well the prime responsibility of the government of Sudan is not to brutalize its own people, and to protect its own people. That’s the prime responsibility, and that’s what we’re focusing on, not to bomb people, not to arm militias to attack people, not to support people who engage in the burning of villages and rape. That’s what’s going on in Darfur right now. Human beings are being killed, hundreds of them every day, as a direct result of the actions of the government in Khartoum. As a direct result of its policies hundreds of people every day are being killed. Their responsibility to their people is to stop it – and to stop it now. And the world is watching.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: Well, anybody who kills and burns and so on deserves the condemnation of the world.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: Sorry?

Reporter: (inaudible)

Ambassador Danforth: Well, we hope to get back to the office and take into consideration the comments we heard and put out a final version – put it in blue either tonight or tomorrow morning. Hopefully people have asked because of the time difference between here and their capitals – they’ve asked for the final draft as quickly as we can get it so we’re going to go back to the office and do that.

Reporter: (inaudible) intervention, you know, from the Congress and other quarters, could this AU idea solve the issue about intervention, you know (inaudible).

Ambassador Danforth: There are practical questions as to how security in an area the size of France is provided. And this requires the best thinking of people who are experts in that area. I think that participation of the African Union is very, very important. But I’m not sure exactly what it would take to give the people of Darfur assurance that they’re safe. That’s something that people with more technical expertise than I would have the answer to.

Reporter: What would the Ambassador say that all this outrage is driven by internal politics in America? What do you say to that?

Ambassador Danforth: What do I say about that? Are the American people concerned about the people of Darfur? Yes, they are. Are the American people aware of the disaster of Darfur? Yes, they are. Are the American people aware of the stories of burning and rape and plunder and displaced persons? Yes, they are. And do the American people, to their credit, stand up for people half way around the world who are so different from what they are, but are human beings? Yes, the American people care about them. Thanks.

USUN Press Release # 140. All USUN Press Releases are available at http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/.


Released on August 2, 2004

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