or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Letter to the Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today continued his tireless effort to bring Sudanese President Omar Bashir to justice, calling on the Obama Administration to make sure the Ethiopian government understands that future U.S. aid could be cut off if the indicted war criminal is allowed to enter the country for the upcoming African Union (AU) summit.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Wolf detailed how a provision in the fiscal year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill working its way through the House prevents non-humanitarian U.S. aid from going to any nation that allows Bashir to enter unless it is with the express purpose of furthering the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Bashir's arrest in 2009. He is wanted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

The language is an off-shoot of Wolf's successful effort to get the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to suspend its compact with the country of Malawi after its late president, Bingu wa Mutharika, rolled out the diplomatic red carpet for Bashir for a regional trade meeting last year. This year's AU summit was moved to Ethiopia after Malawi's new president, Joyce Banda, said Bashir would not be allowed to enter the country. Following Banda's announcement, and internal improvements in human rights and democratic governance, Malawi's compact was reinstated.

"I have been deeply troubled to read that after Malawi declined to host the summit, Ethiopia has opted to do so," Wolf wrote. "While not an MCC country, Ethiopia receives significant U.S. assistance. In fact, U.S. bilateral assistance to Ethiopia totaled almost $780 million in FY2011, according to the State Department's annual Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ) for Foreign Operations."

Wolf said countries embracing war criminals like Bashir are at odds with U.S. foreign policy objectives.

"Bashir should be isolated, not embraced," Wolf said. "And in tight budgetary times, U.S. foreign assistance should be clearly linked to U.S. foreign policy objective and values."

Wolf pointed out that his effort to restrict non-humanitarian U.S. assistance is backed by 70 Holocaust and genocide scholars, who recently sent a letter of support to Samantha Powers, chair of the administration's newly created Atrocities Prevention Board.

Wolf said "[a] concrete way for the administration to show its support of this amendment would be for you to communicate with the Ethiopian government, in advance of the AU summit, that they are treading on dangerous ground and that non-humanitarian U.S. aid to their country is in jeopardy if they permit Bashir to enter."

Wolf has been to Sudan and South Sudan multiple times while in Congress and is widely respected for his knowledge of the issue. His most recent trip was in February, when he visited a refugee camp in Yida, just south of the Nuba mountains. Actor George Clooney, NBC New Correspondent Ann Currie and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof also have been to Yida and the Nuba mountains in recent months in an effort to draw attention to this man-made crisis.

Below is Wolf's letter to Clinton:

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C St NW Ste 7276
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As you know I have long been concerned by the seeming ease with which Sudanese president Omar Bashir travels internationally -- this is especially troubling given that he is an internationally indicted war criminal due to his role in the Darfur genocide. Amazingly, his brutality against his own people continues still today as has been well-documented by the likes of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and NBC correspondent Ann Curry, both of whom have traveled, at great personal risk, to the Nuba Mountains and beheld the aerial bombardments and starvation facing the people of that region.

For some time I had pressed the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to terminate its compact with the country of Malawi after its late president, Bingu wa Mutharika, rolled out the diplomatic red carpet for Bashir. My reasoning was quite straight-forward -- Bashir should be isolated, not embraced. And in tight budgetary times, U.S. foreign assistance should be clearly linked to U.S. foreign policy objective and values.

After many months the MCC took action and earlier this year suspended the compact "due to a pattern of actions by the Government of Malawi that is inconsistent with the democratic governance criteria that MCC uses to select its compact partners." Notably the MCC also cited the Bashir visit as part of the reason for the suspension. This decision, and the Bashir component in particular, reverberated throughout the region and was widely covered in the Africa press.

Fortunately Malawi's new president, Joyce Banda, has taken a firm stand in refusing to allow Sudanese President Omar Bashir to visit her country for the upcoming African Union (AU) summit. As you know, in the face of pressure from the AU, President Banda went so far as to decline to host the summit lest her country and her government be placed in the position of being forced to host a war criminal. In light of these developments I made clear to the MCC Board in advance of its recent meeting that I supported Malawi's compact being reinstated. I was pleased to see that the Board shared this assessment.

However, I have been deeply troubled to read that after Malawi declined to host the summit, Ethiopia has opted to do so. While not an MCC country, Ethiopia receives significant U.S. assistance. In fact, U.S. bilateral assistance to Ethiopia totaled almost $780 million in FY2011, according to the State Department's annual Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ) for Foreign Operations.

I recently offered an amendment, adopted with bipartisan support during consideration of the State Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which would cut non-humanitarian aid to any nation, not simply MCC compact countries, which allow Bashir to enter unless it is with the express purpose of furthering the peace process between Sudan and South Sudan. If enacted, such a provision would isolate Bashir and make him an international pariah as is befitting a man with blood on his hands. It may interest you to know that the provision recently garnered the support of 70 prominent Holocaust and genocide scholars. I have enclosed a letter these scholars sent to the Samantha Powers, chair of the administration's newly created Atrocities Prevention Board urging the administration's support of my amendment.

Tellingly, Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute, which initiated the letter, said: "Halting aid to those who host Bashir would be the first concrete step the U.S. has taken to isolate the Butcher of Darfur and pave the way for his arrest. If the Obama administration is serious about punishing perpetrators of genocide, it should support the Wolf Amendment."

A concrete way for the administration to show its support of this amendment would be for you to communicate with the Ethiopian government, in advance of the AU summit, that they are treading on dangerous ground and that non-humanitarian U.S. aid to their country is in jeopardy if they permit Bashir to enter.

While this provision has not yet been enacted, countries which persist in embracing war criminals like Bashir must be clear that when they do so they are at odds with U.S. foreign policy objectives and we will not hesitate to use our leverage to prompt a different course of action. The rape victim in Darfur and the widow in the Nuba Mountains deserve nothing less.

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress


Source:
Back to top