Senator Biden's Leadership on Darfur
For more than three years, Senator Biden has led the effort in Congress to end the genocide in Darfur. Starting in 2004, he pressed the Bush administration to acknowledge the genocide, to increase sanctions on Khartoum and to deliver humanitarian assistance to refugees. Biden introduced and repeatedly passed legislation urging the President to establish a NATO-led No Fly Zone over Darfur to prevent the Sudanese government from supplying the Janjaweed militia and attacking civilians. He introduced and passed legislation to establish a Special Envoy for Darfur. Biden visited the Oure Cassoni refugee camp on the Chad-Sudan border (after being denied a visa to enter Sudan), meeting with refugees and members of the African Union monitoring mission. In Chad, he met with leaders of the main rebel groups and urged them to develop a common negotiating position. He told Sudan's foreign minister that he would ensure Congress did not lift sanctions on Sudan until there was an end to the violence. He has pressed foreign leaders - including Chinese President Hu and the Arab League - to use their influence with Khartoum. In hearings, speeches, opinion pieces, letters to the President, and meetings with major advocacy groups and administration officials, Biden has consistently called for action to stop the genocide and made specific policy recommendations.
Biden's Plan for Darfur -- now before the Senate in S. Res. 276 -- would make it U.S. policy to stop the violence by deploying a robust international peacekeeping force, ensure access for humanitarian workers and negotiate a durable political settlement. Its key elements are:
* Immediately send to Darfur the U.N. "Heavy Support Mission" (Phase 2) - 3000 police and soldiers to bolster the African Union and prepare the way for the full U.N. peacekeeping mission (Phase 3). Press other countries to immediately provide the needed helicopter and ground vehicles. If they won't, the U.S. must.
* Set a deadline for Khartoum to accept the full U.N. peacekeeping force (Phase 3) - 23,000 peacekeepers - and secure commitments from other countries to take part.
* If Khartoum rejects the full force, impose and enforce additional sanctions, impose and enforce a No Fly Zone over Sudan and commit U.S. forces to help the African Union protect civilians and ensure access for humanitarian groups.
* Put all parties on notice - including Khartoum, the militia and rebel groups - that they will be held accountable for failing to ensure the access and safety of humanitarian workers.
* Launch a sustained, coordinated diplomatic offensive with the U.N., the A.U. and leading countries to bring the rebel groups together and negotiate a political settlement between them and Khartoum.