PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR SUDAN REMARKS -- (Senate - July 20, 2006)
Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I wish to discuss a critical issue that I have addressed in this Chamber numerous times in the last several years, and that is the situation in Darfur. It is truly a shame that in July of 2006, the horrendous conditions and continued violence look very similar to that which first caught our attention in 2003.
Despite the recent peace agreement that was reached in early May between the Government of National Unity and one faction of the largest rebel group, the violence on the ground has continued unabated. This has led to a tenuous humanitarian situation.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund Darfur Nutrition Update for June 2006, malnutrition rates and admissions to therapeutic feeding centers are rising across Darfur. Under difficult conditions, our Government has done a tremendous job in providing assistance to the people of Darfur, including contributing over 80 percent of the food delivered in Darfur by the World Food Program. Unfortunately, our Government's efforts are not enough. Other donors must increase their contributions and fulfill the pledges they made.
To make these matters worse, the Government of Sudan blatantly refuses a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Darfur, leaving the African Union to try and enforce peace, which it has been unable to do thus far.
For these reasons, I am encouraging President Bush to appoint a Presidential envoy for Sudan as soon as possible. The fiscal year 2006 emergency supplemental includes a provision offered by Senator Biden and myself to create a Presidential special envoy and an office in the State Department to support it. This envoy is charged with working to resolve the conflict in Darfur, facilitating implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the north and south Sudan, and resolving other internal and regional conflicts.
The timing of this appointment could not be more critical. Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick is departing and other key administration officials that have been working on Sudan are rotating to new positions. I want to personally thank Secretary Zoellick for his commitment to peace in Sudan. His tireless efforts were at the forefront of this administration's clear commitment to this troubled country.
I urge the President to appoint a trusted leader who is committed to bringing about peace in Sudan once and for all.
The thought of making similar statements about Darfur in 2009 is unacceptable.