Washington, DC — Legislation authored by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) requiring the Administration to report regularly on violations of the peace and on U.S. assistance to peacekeeping in Darfur was included in the Department of Defense Authorization Act conference report. The Reid-Clinton measure combined amendments that were authored independently by Senators Reid and Clinton earlier this year, largely to sustain U.S. engagement on the crisis in Darfur.
“The situation in Darfur is one of the most pressing humanitarian crises we face,” said Reid. “The Defense Appropriations Bill included the funding needed for security, but we must make sure Congress has the information necessary to ensure that there is sustained U.S. engagement on this issue. Hopefully, this legislation will be another step towards bringing a comprehensive peace to the region.”
“The continued suffering of children and families in Darfur is unacceptable. More than 200,000 civilians have lost their lives and as many as three to four million now depend on aid. The President of Sudan continues to defy the U.N. Security Council, the African Union, and even other Sudanese officials. Meanwhile, we continue to receive reports of a major Sudanese offensive that violates international laws. While we push for action to stop the violence, this reporting will help sustain attention to this crisis,” said Senator Clinton.
The first Darfur report is expected in 90 days, and like subsequent reports, it requires the Secretary of Defense in coordination with the Secretary of State to describe (1) violations of the Darfur Peace Agreement and delays in its implementation, including those related to demobilization of the Janjaweed, returns of displaced people, and security for relief operations; (2) the African Union Mission in Sudan’s (AMIS) ability to perform its duties; (3) U.S. assistance to the AMIS and possible U.N. peacekeeping mission in Darfur; and (4) U.S. efforts to amass peacekeepers from other countries for the U.N. mission in Darfur.
Senators Reid and Clinton also applauded Congressional passage of legislation they co-sponsored with Senators Obama and Durbin, providing an additional $20 million to peacekeepers in Sudan. This legislation was part of a Department of Defense Appropriations bill that will soon be signed into law by the President.