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I thank the gentleman. I thank him for his leadership in this area.
I, too, want to join in thanking the majority leader for his leadership and his passion on this issue and bringing this matter to the attention of the House this evening.
Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the people of Sudan and to pledge my continued commitment to achieving lasting peace and security for the Sudanese people.
Three years ago, I traveled to the Darfur region of Sudan as part of an official, bipartisan congressional delegation. During that time, I was able to meet with a host of individuals ranging from the President of Southern Sudan, United Nations peacekeepers, ministers from the government of Southern Sudan, the Speaker of Parliament, and rebel leader and Darfur Peace Agreement-signatory, Mr. Minni Minawi. Each of these individuals holds an essential stake in peace.
Sudan's Democratic and geographic integrity, as well as the lives of its people, depend on the continued leadership of these and many other individuals.
This year, as we mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that put an end to Sudan's 21-year-old civil war, I'm encouraged by the gains that have been made, but there is still much more work to be done.
The United States cannot and will not turn a blind eye to genocide in Darfur or to corruption and poor leadership in any part of Sudan. Too much blood has been shed and too many lives have been lost. The United States must continue to work with our international allies to provide aid and promote peace--because that's the right thing to do. We should do everything we can to see to it that the citizens and leaders of Sudan come together, put an end to tribal violence, and commit themselves to the welfare of Sudan.
Again, with my thanks to Mr. Payne and to the majority leader for their leadership, I yield back the balance of my time to the gentleman from New Jersey.
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