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Public Statements

Submitted Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - July 19, 2007)


Mr. BIDEN (for himself, Mr. Lugar, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Brownback, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Feingold, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Durbin, Ms. Mikulski, and Mr. Harkin) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

S. Res. 276

Whereas hundreds of thousands of people have died and approximately 2,500,000 people have been displaced in Darfur, Sudan since 2003;

Whereas Congress declared on July 22, 2004 that the atrocities in Darfur were genocide;

Whereas President George W. Bush has repeatedly decried the genocide in Darfur, stating, for example, on April 18, 2007, ``that genocide is the only word for what is happening in Darfur--and that we have a moral obligation to stop it'';

Whereas the crisis in Darfur and the surrounding region continues and has in fact in some ways worsened despite the efforts of the United States, the United Nations, the African Union, and the international community;

Whereas on August 30, 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved United Nations Security Council Resolution 1706 providing that the existing United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) ``shall take over from [the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS)] responsibility for supporting the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement upon the expiration of AMIS' mandate but in any event no later than 31 December 2006'', and that UNMIS ``shall be strengthened by up to 17,300 military personnel . . . up to 3,300 civilian police personnel'', which ``shall begin to be deployed no later than 1 October 2006'';

Whereas the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir rejected United Nations Security Council Resolution 1706 and refused to allow the United Nations to deploy a peacekeeping force to Darfur;

Whereas Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairperson of the African Union, led efforts to reach a compromise with President al-Bashir by convening a summit of interested governments and international bodies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 16, 2006;

Whereas as a result of the Addis Ababa summit an agreement was reached by all parties, including the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the Government of Sudan, the United States, and China, which called for a three-phased deployment of a hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force to Darfur of no less than 17,000 military troops and 3,000 civilian police, with a primarily African character, but open to non-African troop and police contributors;

Whereas the agreement stated that the United Nations-African Union hybrid force would have a strong mandate to protect civilians and that the peacekeeping force must be logistically and financially sustainable, with support from the United Nations;

Whereas President al-Bashir has repeatedly obstructed the Addis Ababa agreement since its signing by reneging on and redefining the terms of his commitment to allow the deployment of the full hybrid United Nations-African Union force;

Whereas on June 11, 2007, President al-Bashir pledged to accept unconditionally the full United Nations-African Union hybrid deployment;

Whereas some subsequent speeches and statements by President al-Bashir have contradicted that claim of acceptance while others have reinforced it;

Whereas diplomatic efforts to secure President al-Bashir's genuine acceptance and facilitation of the full United Nations-African Union hybrid force must not lead to weakening of the structure, capacities, or mandate of that force in exchange for President al-Bashir's full compliance;

Whereas history has repeatedly demonstrated that the ultimate success or failure of any peacekeeping force depends significantly on its size, resources, mandate, mobility, and command structure;

Whereas to establish conditions of peace and security, the peacekeeping mission must be accompanied by a peace-building process among the parties to the conflict;

Whereas such a process will require a sustained, coordinated, and high-level diplomatic attempt to unify the rebel groups in the region and engagement with the rebels and the Sudanese government in order to forge a comprehensive political settlement;

Whereas under the international humanitarian law of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, done at Geneva August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3516) and the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, done at Geneva June 8, 1977, all parties to the conflict in Darfur are required to refrain from attacks on civilians and on medical and other humanitarian personnel, and all perpetrators should be held accountable for violations of international humanitarian law; and

Whereas failure on the part of the international community to take all steps necessary to generate, deploy, and maintain an effective United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force will result in the continued loss of life and further degradation of humanitarian infrastructure in Darfur: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) urges the President of the United States to--

(A) work with members of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union to ensure the expeditious deployment of the United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and operating under United Nations guidelines and procedures for command and control with a mandate affirming that civilian protection is a primary mission objective;

(B) strongly encourage the member states of the United Nations that have the capabilities to do so, to contribute collectively approximately 19,500 military personnel and up to 6,500 police to implement the mandate, as is currently under discussion in the United Nations Security Council;

(C) work bilaterally and with member states of the North Atlantic Trade Organization, the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union, and other capable partners to--

(i) rapidly implement pre-deployment programs and provide equipment to United Nations standards, with a special focus on African peacekeepers, in order to ensure that a full complement of peacekeepers can be deployed, sustained, and rotated as necessary; and

(ii) provide the United Nations-African Union hybrid force with--

(I) sufficient logistical support and airlift capacity;

(II) necessary vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters for tactical reconnaissance and armed deterrence; and

(III) other equipment;

(D) work with members of the United Nations and the African Union to--

(i) ensure that substantive civilian mission components are rapidly established and able to capitalize on any opportunities to advance the political and peace processes which the successful deployment of the United Nations-African Union hybrid force may create;

(ii) reinitiate a peace-building process among the parties to the conflict as part of a sustained, coordinated, high-level diplomatic effort to forge a comprehensive political settlement; and

(iii) ensure the security, maintenance, and expansion of humanitarian access to those in need and promote a return to the rule of law in the region;

(E) work with members of the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and other donor nations to ensure that adequate financial support is provided to peacekeepers serving in the current African Mission in Sudan, and the planned hybrid United Nations-African Union force; and

(F) work with Congress to ensure robust funding for the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur;

(2) urges the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the African Union to make every effort to expedite the urgent generation, rapid deployment, and effective administration of the full United Nations-African Union hybrid force;

(3) urges Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the Government of Sudan to abide by the agreement of President al-Bashir to fully accept and facilitate the deployment of the United Nations-African Union hybrid force without condition;

(4) urges the President's Special Envoy to Sudan to continue his legislative outreach, including offering to brief Congress every 60 days on the status of deployment of the United Nations-African Union hybrid peacekeeping force and parallel measures to enable peace in Darfur through an inclusive political process; and

(5) urges President George W. Bush, the United Nations Security Council, the African Union, the European Union, the League of Arab States, nations in the region, and individual nations with significant economic or political influence over Sudan to--

(A) hold President al-Bashir and the Government of Sudan accountable for any failure through neglect or obstruction to fully facilitate the deployment of the full United Nations-African Union hybrid force for Darfur; and

(B) be prepared to implement meaningful measures, including the imposition of multilateral sanctions, an arms embargo, and a no fly zone for Sudanese military flights over Darfur, if the Government of Sudan obstructs deployment of the agreed upon peacekeeping mission.

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, today Senator LUGAR and I introduce a resolution calling for the urgent deployment of a peacekeeping mission to Darfur, but also laying out some benchmarks for that mission.

We are all aware of the terrible carnage that 4 years of genocide have wrought in Darfur and the surrounding region. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more have been driven into camps.

The world has watched, it has passed resolutions, and it has decried the killings, but it has not stopped them.

Last month brought the welcome news that the Sudanese government had finally agreed once again, the deployment of a full-scale, joint peacekeeping operation by the United Nations and the African Union.

But in the weeks since then, President al-Bashir has fallen into his old pattern of backpedaling away from his commitments, of accepting the mission but seeking to impose conditions, and of alternately agreeing to the troops and then recanting.

President Bashir may be wavering, but the world must not.

The resolution that we are introducing today expresses Congress's determination to move forward in support of this peacekeeping mission and reaffirms the minimum standards of this mission, which the Khartoum government must not be allowed to bargain away.

It is critical that the United Nations and the African Union hold firm on the structure, capacity, command and control mechanisms, and mandate of the peacekeeping force. We cannot negotiate down on the force levels that are needed; this resolution supports the ongoing efforts at the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution authorizing approximately 20,000 peacekeeping troops and over 6000 police personnel.

In addition to numbers, it is equally important that the mission have the mandate to protect Darfur's civilians and the means to carry out that mandate.

All the resolutions in the world, however, will not save the people of Darfur if the international community does not contribute the forces and equipment that are needed for this peacekeeping mission.

This resolution urges the member states of the United Nations to step up to volunteer the needed forces. It also urges the President to work with these countries and the African Union and NATO to expedite deployment.

Together with our partners, we must ensure that the UN-AU force has the people and the equipment to do the job, including the air assets that will be needed to patrol an area that is the size of Texas but lacks both roads and infrastructure. We must also take steps to ensure humanitarian access and security for those bringing aid to the millions of people in Darfur who are in need. We cannot continue to allow attacks against humanitarian workers to take place with impunity.

Our resolution also emphasizes that peacekeeping must be accompanied by a reinvigorated peace-building effort. Chaos and fragmentation are accelerating in Darfur by the day. Blue helmeted troops are not enough: Khartoum, the rebel groups, and leading nations like the U.S. must all work toward a lasting and inclusive peace agreement on the ground.

I am committed to working with the administration to help secure the resources that are needed to fund this mission. If commitments for crucial equipment are not forthcoming, then the U.S. should help provide them--we have the best troops and the best equipment in the world and we must stand ready to assist this effort to bring four years of murder, rape, and destruction to an end.

Finally, I will conclude as our resolution does: if Khartoum does not fulfill its part of the agreement and allow the full deployment of the peacekeeping mission, then the international community must impose multilateral sanctions, an expanded arms embargo, and a no fly zone over Darfur.

The world stands at a critical moment: we must collectively assume our responsibility to protect the people of Darfur, either through the fulfillment of this peacekeeping mission or the imposition of meaningful countermeasures. Four years of killing are four years too many.

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