Remarks After the Secretary's Tour of the Abu Shouk CampSecretary Colin L. Powell
Al Fasher, Sudan
June 30, 2004
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. I would like to express my appreciation to the dedicated workers who are here at this camp from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Oxfam, USAID, World Food Program and so many others. The people of this camp are being given hope, as well as sustenance.
But, as was just said, we don't want them to stay in camps; we all want them to return to their homes. And that will require the re-establishment throughout Darfur of security, the end of this fighting, the end of the Jingaweit, the end of atrocities, the end of the violence. Camps are good for temporary purposes, but cannot be the answer, especially as we enter the rainy season and where we run the risk of people not being able to get home to plant crops. Crops that will not be harvested months later and the cycle repeats itself and the need for international assistance becomes great.
In my conversations with my colleague, the Foreign Minister and with the President last evening, and the conversations I hope to continue this afternoon in my meeting with Kofi Annan later today, we'll have a chance to review all we have heard, seen and make a judgment of what else the international community must do to help Sudan, to help the people of Darfur, help to bring peace to this region. We are anxious to see the end of militarism out here, we are anxious to see the Jingaweit brought under control, disarmed so that people can leave camps in safety and go back to the villages. It seems to me that is the number one priority.
And the number two priority is to make sure that we are doing everything we can in the international community to speed the flow of humanitarian workers, supplies, vehicles, all the other things that are necessary to get the job done. And I will be having discussions with government leaders and Foreign Minister Ismail later today, to see what can be done to speed up that process.
Ultimately, of course, we need a political solution to this conflict. And that has been the subject of my discussions with the Foreign Minister and with the President, and I will continue those discussions later this afternoon.
I've also had a chance to visit with the AU Monitoring Group that is here under the leadership of the very distinguished Nigerian General, General Okonkwo, and he is anxious to build up the size of the monitoring team. And I'll have conversations later this afternoon with the Foreign Minister as to what can be done to make sure that their vehicles arrive as promptly as possible and that the additional personnel waiting to join the monitoring group can arrive here because it is in everyone's interest for the monitoring group to spread out as quickly as possible and get on with their work.
I would like to say thank you to all my hosts here this afternoon, and a special thanks for what they are doing to give these desperate people- who want nothing more than to go home in safety- giving them hope until that day arrives when they can go home and live in peace and safety with their families.
Released on June 30, 2004