Senate Democrats

REID PRAISES PASSAGE OF NEW SUDAN LEGISLATION

Washington, DC– Working to push the Bush Administration to more fully and effectively address the ongoing genocide in the Sudan, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today hailed the passage of new legislation that will compel the Defense Department to explain its role in assisting the implementation of the recently signed Darfur Peace Agreement.

“The Congress and the Bush Administration were right to label the atrocities in Sudan as genocide, but with the Darfur Peace Agreement signed, now is the time for engagement,” said Reid. “Just yesterday, the African Union and the United Nations warned of the ‘risk of major violence’ in Darfur.  Now more than ever, we must do everything possible to assist the African Union Mission in Sudan. This new legislation is an important step forward.”

The new legislation, passed as part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill, directs the Department of Defense to report to Congress on what it can offer to support  the  African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in its efforts to stop the genocide, on plans to provide intelligence and tactical mobility to AMIS, on its efforts to mobilize the international community to commit troops to support  a future  United Nations’ mission in Sudan,  and on its work to improve the interoperability of AMIS’s communications technology.

Earlier this week, Senator Reid also renewed his call for the appointment of a Special Envoy to Sudan.  In a letter to the Secretary of State, Senator Reid noted that the pending departure of Bob Zoellick provided yet another reason to appoint a Special Envoy to oversee the implementation of the peace accords.  Senator Reid first called for a Special Envoy in a letter sent to President Bush on May 25th.  The text of the amendment and of both letters is attached below.

Currently there are roughly 7,000 African Union troops trying to stop the genocide in Sudan. After an estimated 200,000 deaths, it is time for the United States to offer more than sympathy.

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AMENDMENT NO. 4439, AS MODIFIED

    At the end of subtitle B of title XII, add the following:

   SEC. 1223. REPORTS ON THE DARFUR PEACE AGREEMENT.

    Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a detailed report on the Department of Defense’s role in assisting the parties to the Darfur Peace Agreement of May 5, 2006 with implementing that Agreement. Each such report shall include a description of–

    (1) the assets that the United States military, in concert with the United States North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies, are able to offer the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and any United Nations peacekeeping mission authorized for Darfur;

    (2) any plans of the Secretary of Defense to support the AMIS by providing information regarding the location of belligerents and potential violations of the Darfur Peace Agreement and assistance to improve the AMIS use of intelligence and tactical mobility;

    (3) the resources that will be used during the current fiscal year to provide the support described in paragraph (2) and the resources that will be needed during the next fiscal year to provide such support;

    (4) the efforts of the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to leverage troop contributions from other countries to serve in the proposed United Nation peacekeeping mission for Darfur;

    (5) any plans of the Secretary of Defense to participate in the deployment of any NATO mentoring or technical assistance teams to Darfur to assist the AMIS; and

    (6) any actions carried out by the Secretary of Defense to address deficiencies in the AMIS communications systems, particularly the interoperability of communications equipment.

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June 20, 2006

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

As you may know, last month I wrote to the President calling for a Special Envoy to Sudan to ensure implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA).  As I noted in my letter, which is attached, the signing of the DPA represents an important step towards bringing a lasting peace to Darfur.  However, the agreement is fragile and will require the sustained efforts and engagement of the United States.

Since February 2005, Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick has led U.S. efforts in Sudan.  His periodic visits to the region were instrumental in getting the government of Sudan and the largest Darfurian rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, to sign on to the DPA.  But, as Mr. Zoellick said following the signing of the agreement: “the key now is the follow-up.” 

With yesterday’s news of Mr. Zoellick’s departure from the State Department, I am even more concerned that implementation of the DPA will languish, thereby prolonging the massive humanitarian crisis that has plagued Sudan.  Implementation of the DPA still faces several hurdles, including getting other key rebel groups to sign on, rallying the international community to contribute troops to the UN mission, and bolstering the African Union forces.  U.S. leadership and the day to day involvement of a senior U.S. official is needed now more than ever.  As you may be aware, the Congress has previously authorized the appointment of Special Envoy for Sudan in the 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act.  I, therefore, once again call upon the Administration to appoint a special envoy as quickly as possible. 

Additionally, we must continue to work to hold accountable those responsible for the genocide in Darfur.  To this end, the United States Senate and House of Representatives have both passed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, which calls on the Administration to impose diplomatic and financial sanctions against specific high-ranking Sudanese officials and Janjaweed leaders named in a confidential U.N. report.  I am hopeful that the Administration will drop its objections to this legislation so that we may move quickly towards final passage on a bipartisan basis. 

Finally, it remains somewhat unclear what impact the DPA will have on future accountability measures.  For example, in the Administration’s view does the DPA satisfy any requirements for lifting sanctions against Sudan, and did U.S. officials offer to lift sanctions on the government to encourage them to sign the DPA?  These questions need to be answered and resolved as we move forward.  Therefore, prior to Mr. Zoellick’s departure, I would urge you to brief members of Congress on the explicit — and implicit — terms of the DPA as they bear on U.S. obligations and policy. 

Sincerely,

Harry Reid
Democratic Leader

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May 25, 2006

President George W. Bush

The White House

Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President,

Almost two years ago, your administration rightfully declared that the mass atrocities occurring in Darfur were genocide.  There have been signs of progress since then, including, most recently, the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA).  But the peace agreement is fragile and its implementation will require increased and sustained U.S. engagement.  Thus, I strongly urge you to appoint a Special Envoy to the Sudan region.   

A U.S. envoy could harmonize U.S. policy and coordinate U.S. government efforts.  In addition, this envoy could exert regular and sustained diplomatic pressure on the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to adhere to the commitments made in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and monitor ongoing negotiations between the government of Sudan and rebels in the East.  A U.S. envoy could also increase pressure on the other Darfurian rebel groups to sign the DPA.  The regional context of these conflicts is critical: a special envoy could engage the trans-border issues.  Finally, this envoy could coordinate closely with the other donor nations on humanitarian and development assistance. 

Many credit the appointment of former Senator John Danforth to serve as a Presidential Special Envoy in 2001 as a major factor in helping to forge the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the 21-year North-South civil war.  To his credit, Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick has demonstrated that progress can be made in Sudan through the sustained attention of a senior representative of the U.S. government.  But Secretary Zoellick has wide-ranging responsibilities across the globe, and despite his best efforts, he cannot provide the full-time attention to Sudan that is now required. 

During consideration of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Senate passed an amendment authorizing the appointment of an international special envoy to Sudan.  Upon final passage, I hope you will seize the opportunity to implement the law and appoint a representative of the stature and ability of a John Danforth who can bring to bear the full attention and leadership of the U.S. Government.  The immediate appointment and deployment of a Special Envoy would show the government of Sudan–and the world–that the U.S. is truly committed to peace throughout Sudan and ensuring the end of the violence and instability in the region.  The full-time, high-level attention that comes with a Presidential Envoy is critical for success. 

Sincerely,

                                                       

                                                            Harry Reid

                                                            Democratic Leader

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