Darfur: Peace Deal? White House briefing.

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Maybe, maybe, some progress on the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan…

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release May 8, 2006

Darfur Agreement: A Step Toward Peace

Last Friday, The Government Of Sudan And The Largest Darfur Rebel Group

Signed An Agreement And Took A Step Toward Peace. We are still far from

our ultimate goal of returning millions of displaced people to their

homes so they can have a life without fear, but we can now see a way

forward. The President is particularly grateful for the leadership of

President Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Sassou-Nguesso of the

Republic of the Congo.

The President Has Called The Massive Violence An Act Of Genocide – No

Other Word Captures The Extent Of This Tragedy. A 22-year civil war

between north and south took more than 2 million lives before a peace

agreement that the United States helped to broker was signed early last

year. At about the same time, another conflict was raging to the west –

in Sudan’s vast Darfur region. Darfur rebel groups had attacked

government outposts. To fight that rebellion, Sudan’s regime armed and

unleashed a horse-mounted militia called the Janjaweed, which targeted

not only the rebels but the tribes thought to be supporting them. The

Janjaweed murdered men and raped women and beat children to death and

burned homes and farms and poisoned wells, stole land to graze their own

herds, and destroyed hundreds of villages. About 200,000 people have

died from conflict, famine, and disease, and more than 2 million were

forced into camps. A ceasefire was declared in this conflict in April

2004, but it has been routinely violated by all sides.

With This Peace Agreement, Darfur Has A Chance To Begin Anew. Sudan’s

government has promised to disarm the Janjaweed by mid-October, and to

punish all those who violate the ceasefire. The main rebel group has

agreed to withdraw into specified areas. Its forces will eventually be

disarmed as well, and some of its units will be integrated into the

national army and police. The African Union will meet a week from

today, and the President urges its members to help implement this

agreement.

The President’s Plan To Assist Darfur Has Two Critical Components:

First, America And Other Nations Must Act To Prevent A Humanitarian

Emergency. America is the leading provider of humanitarian aid, and

this year alone we account for more than 85 percent of the food

distributed by the World Food Program in Sudan. The situation, however,

remains dire.

* The United States Has Met Its Commitment – But Other Major Donors

Have Not Come Through. The World Food Program has issued an appeal for

funds necessary to feed 6 million people over the next several months.

The United States has met our commitment – but other major donors have

not come through. As a result, this month the World Food Program was

forced to cut rations by half. The President has proposed, in the

emergency supplemental before Congress, to increase food aid to Sudan by

another $225 million. The President hopes Congress will act swiftly on

this true emergency.

* The President Is Directing The Federal Government To Take

Numerous Actions To Provide Relief To The People Of Darfur. The

President has directed USAID to ship emergency food stockpiles, and he

has ordered five ships to be loaded with food and to proceed immediately

to Port Sudan. The President has ordered the emergency purchase of

another 40,000 metric tons of food for rapid shipment to Sudan. These

actions will allow the World Food Program to restore full food rations

to the people of Darfur this summer. Americans who wish to contribute

money to help deliver relief to the people of Darfur can find

information about how to do so by going to the USAID website at

www.USAID.gov and clicking on the section

marked “Helping the Sudanese People.”

* The European Union – And Nations Like Canada, The United Kingdom,

The Netherlands, And Japan – Have Taken Leadership On Other Humanitarian

Issues, And The People Of Darfur Urgently Need More Of Their Help Now.

In addition, the government of Sudan must allow all UN agencies to do

their work without hindrance by removing the visa and travel

restrictions that complicate relief efforts. And all sides must cease

attacks on relief workers.

Second, America And Other Nations Must Work Quickly To Increase Security

On The Ground In Darfur.

* America Is Working With NATO Members To Increase Security In

Darfur. America is working with our NATO allies to support the African

Union forces in Darfur with immediate assistance in the form of

planning, logistics, intelligence support, and other help, and the

President urges members of the alliance to contribute to this effort.

* America Is Working With The UN To Increase Security In Darfur.

The African Union troops must be the core of a larger military force

that is more mobile and more capable, generates better intelligence –

and is given a clear mandate to protect civilians from harm. So the

President is dispatching Secretary Rice to address the United Nations

Security Council tomorrow and to request a resolution that will

accelerate the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers into Darfur.

* We Are Working With The UN To Identify Countries That Can

Contribute Troops To This Peacekeeping Effort. The President has called

President Bashir of Sudan, both to commend him on his work for this

agreement, and to urge his government to express clear support for the

UN force. The vulnerable people of Darfur deserve the active protection

that UN peacekeepers are called to provide.

While America Is Providing Aid To The Suffering People In Darfur, Al

Qaeda Wants To Add To The Misery By Killing Those Who Want Only To Help.

In a recent audiotape, Osama Bin Laden attacked American efforts in

Sudan and urged his followers to kill international peacekeepers in

Darfur. While the terrorists are attempting to exploit the misery of

fellow Muslims and encourage more death, America and other responsible

nations are fighting misery and helping a desperate region come back to

life. The contrast could not be clearer.

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