Deputy Secretary Zoellick: Travel to Sudan and Kenya
Zoellick met with leaders of the Government of National Unity involved in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), leaders of key rebel groups in Darfur, representatives of the new Government of Southern Sudan, diplomats from other countries involved in Sudan, representatives of international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as religious leaders and citizens of Sudan. While in Darfur, Zoellick met with top officials of the African Union Mission.
"Helping to end violence, ease suffering and forge a lasting political solution for Sudanís conflicts remain high priorities for the United States. Over fifty percent of the international aid for Sudan has come from the United States," Zoellick said. "We are focused on using the CPA as a framework to assist the people of Sudan achieve lasting political solutions to the countryís multiple crises, including Darfur. We are supporting peacekeeping missions to stop the violence, engaging Sudanís neighbors to play a constructive role, and providing humanitarian relief to people who are suffering."
"Sudan is at a critical juncture. Large-scale killing in Darfur has subsided, but a recent upswing of violence is a serious danger. The CPA has survived the tragic death of one of its architects, but progress needs to be stepped up. Darfur rebel groups are fighting amongst themselves. Any spark could set off a wildfire, so all of the key parties have important work to do to keep things on track," Zoellick said.
Zoellick visited Nairobi, Kenya, and in Sudan visited Khartoum, Darfur and Juba.
In Kenya, Zoellick met with leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). He pressed the SLM leaders to set aside their internal differences, to respect the ceasefire, and to develop a unified position for the Abuja peace negotiations.
In Khartoum, Zoellick met with the President Omer Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir, along with First Vice President Salva Kiir, and Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha. Zoellick delivered an address in Khartoum setting out U.S. policy in Sudan, and also met with religious leaders.
In Darfur, Zoellick visited AU peacekeeping forces and their commanders. Zoellick also visited displaced persons camps to emphasize U.S. support for humanitarian assistance and to listen directly to those in need and suffering. Secretary of State Rice has expressed particular concern for the safety of women in the Darfur camps, and Zoellick visited a womenís crisis center which the U.S. has initiated.
"The situation remains tenuous," Zoellick said. "Civil war, violence and a lack of hope have sadly become a daily fact of life for millions of Sudanese over the last three decades. There are no quick fixes here. But President Bush is committed to improve the situation, and the United States is working day in and day out, trying to make things better, and we will continue to work with others to find a lasting solution for the Darfur crisis."
In Juba, Zoellick was received by the President of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir; Vice President Riek Machar; Speaker of the Southern Legislative Assembly James Wani Igga; and cabinet and Legislative Assembly members. He also visited the Memorial to Dr. John Garang, the southern Sudanese leader who died tragically on July 30 in a helicopter crash in Southern Sudan, as well as meeting with his widow, Rebecca Garang, the Minister of Transportation and Roads in the Government of Southern Sudan.
Also in the U.S. delegation was Special Advisor to the President Michael Gerson; Africa Director Cindy Courville, and the Deputy Secretaryís Special Representative Roger Winter.
The United States is a leading donor of assistance to Sudan. In FY 2005, the United States provided over $650 million to Darfur, mostly in humanitarian assistance and support for the African Union Mission, and over $450 million in reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to other areas in Sudan, including Southern Sudan.
The United States recently appointed a new Charge d'Affaires for its Mission to Sudan, Ambassador Cameron Hume. His appointment reflects the high priority the United States places on support for the implementation of the CPA and a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Darfur.
Remarks by Deputy Secetary Zoellick