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Letter To Susan Rice, Ambassador, Permanent U.S. Representative To The United Nations

Bipartisan Group Of Senators Push For U.N. Action On Darfur

A bipartisan group of Senators is working to ensure the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council does not tolerate continued human rights and arms embargo violations by the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur. U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John McCain (R-AZ) led the group in writing to the United States Ambassador to the U.N., Dr. Susan Rice, citing a recent report by the Panel of Experts on Sudan, which states, "…almost all sides in the conflict have failed in their obligation to comply with Security Council sanctions" and urging her to ensure the U.N. Security Council reviews the panel's recommendations for action. Senators joining Feingold and McCain in sending the letter were Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Robert Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (D-ME), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Richard Burr (R-NC), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

The text of the letter is below and a copy below:

December 14, 2009

Ambassador Susan Rice

Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations

U.S. Mission to the United Nations

140 East 45th Street

New York, NY 10017

Dear Madam Ambassador,

We are pleased that you spoke forcefully about the UN Secretary-General's latest report on the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which reports dozens of instances in which the Government of Sudan has denied peacekeepers freedom of movement and access. As you said, this is a blatant violation of the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement and greatly impedes UNAMID's ability to carry out its important peacekeeping mission. A fully operational UNAMID is critical to protect civilians and monitor the security situation until a viable political settlement can be reached to end the conflict.

We are writing to you about another recent report on Darfur presented to the UN Security Council by the Panel of Experts on Sudan in October. As you are likely aware, this report states that almost all sides in the conflict have failed in their obligation to comply with Security Council sanctions and to cooperate with the monitoring efforts of the Panel of Experts. We urge you, as you did with the UN Secretary-General's report on UNAMID, to speak out publicly about these reported violations. With the next Panel of Experts currently being constituted, it is especially important that the Security Council make clear that obstruction of their work is unacceptable.

In their report, the Panel of Experts found that violations of international humanitarian and human rights law remain rampant in Darfur. The report states, "The Darfurian population continues to be victimized by effects of attacks and counter-attacks involving most of the armed movements that frequently lead to the disproportionate use of force by the Sudanese Armed Forces and their auxiliary forces, and results in killings, injuries and displacements." The report documents a number of specific violations of the UN arms embargo by the Sudanese government and armed movements, especially the Justice and Equality Movement. The report also suggests that auxiliary forces of the Sudanese government, known as the Janjaweed, continue to carry arms and engage in violence.

The Panel of Experts recommends that the Security Council request the Government of Sudan report to the Sanctions Committee on a bimonthly basis on movements of troops and material into and out of Darfur, the scope and state of disarmament of the Janjaweed and related militias, and efforts to ensure the protection of all Darfurians. The report also recommends that the Security Council explore possible ways to provide assistance to the Dakar Contact Group's monitoring of the Chadian-Sudanese border. Finally, the confidential annex of the report provides information on a number of individuals who could be added to existing sanctions lists.

We urge you to ensure that these recommendations are carefully reviewed and discussed by the Security Council. While we realize some Security Council members may oppose action at this time, we believe it is important to begin a discussion at the Security Council about pressures that can be brought to bear against belligerents in Darfur in the case that these violations persist. As we have learned from the past, such pressures will only be effective if they have multilateral support. We hope ongoing attempts to achieve a peace agreement will succeed and that such pressures will not be necessary, but we should be prepared if the parties continue to drag their feet as they have in the past.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you and General Gration to deliver on the administration's commitment stated in its Sudan strategy to "work to more concretely transform widespread international concern about Darfur into serious multilateral commitments."

Sincerely,

Russ Feingold (D-WI)

John McCain (R-AZ)

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

Arlen Specter (D-PA)

Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Robert Casey (D-PA)

Susan Collins (D-ME)

Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT)

Richard Burr (R-NC)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Bob Corker (R-TN)

Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)

Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

James Risch (R-ID)

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

CC: The Honorable Hillary Clinton

United States Secretary of State

The Honorably Scott Gration

United States Special Envoy to Sudan


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