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Sep-16-2006 20:13printcomments

On The Eve of Global Day For Darfur, Senators Smith And Kennedy Announce New Plan For Peace

The “Supporting Peace and Alleviating Suffering in Darfur Act” aims to increase the prospects of implementing the peace agreement and, in the meantime, to address the unmet humanitarian and security needs in Darfur.

Violence in Sudan is on the rise
Photo courtesy: Jerry Fuller United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In advance of the Global Day for Darfur on Sunday, Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) announced their bipartisan plan to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement and help alleviate the suffering in the region.

The bill is the first legislation introduced in Congress after the Government of Sudan signed the Darfur Peace Agreement on May 5th.

“Lives can be saved if the influence of the international community is brought to bear,” Smith said. “If it is not, bloodshed and murder will continue. The United States has an immense power to do good, and without our leadership, I fear the world will continue to stand idly by while innocents are slaughtered.”

“This weekend, thousands of Americans will rally to bring greater awareness to the genocide. Our government must also act. For far too long, violence and suffering have gripped the Darfur region of Sudan, and the continuing tragedy has been shamefully tolerated by the international community. Our overarching goal must be to insist that the Sudanese Government stop the violence and comply with its commitments,” Kennedy said. “It’s a simple message, but its impact will depend on whether the world is vigorously supporting it or only a few countries are expressing concern. We must act, and act now.”

At the heart of the bill lies the tenet that effective implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement requires verification by a United Nations peacekeeping operation. To achieve this, the bill seeks to intensify the international pressure on the Government of Sudan to comply with the agreement and to allow in the UN peacekeepers.

In the bill, Congress calls on the President to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan with responsibility for supporting the Darfur peace process and, together with the international community, to press the Sudanese parties to implement the agreed upon ceasefire and disarm the Janjaweed militia, which has caused the genocide in Darfur. The bill calls upon:

The Government of Sudan to immediately allow in a UN peacekeeping force to Darfur and implement the Darfur Peace Agreement

NATO to enforce the no-fly zone over Darfur, if requested by the UN, and to provide airlift, logistical and intelligence support to the peacekeepers

The international community to support the current African Union Mission in Sudan and a follow-on UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur, and to promptly act to fill the outstanding humanitarian assistance needs

The President is required to report to Congress within 90 day on the Government of Sudan’s implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement and describe the situation on the ground, including the humanitarian crisis. Also, the President reports on what the United States, NATO and the international community are doing to support the peace process and fill humanitarian assistance needs. Additional reports are required every 180 days.

If the President certifies in his report that the Government of Sudan is implementing the peace agreement and has agreed to allow in a UN peacekeeping mission, then the President is authorized to implement recommendations from the Special Envoy for Sudan to further peace process. However, if the President finds the Government of Sudan in non-compliance, then the President shall impose targeted sanctions on the leaders of Sudan and their immediate families, urge the international community to do the same and to adopt sanctions the United States already has in place, and continue to oppose normalization of the United State’s relationship with Sudan.

For each of the fiscal years 2008-2012, the bill authorizes $150 million in additional funding to fill the unmet humanitarian needs in Darfur. To gain greater leverage with the Government of Sudan, the bill requires reports on companies investing $5 million or more in Sudan and on the assets of Sudanese leaders in the United States and elsewhere. This information will aid in applying financial pressure on the Sudanese. Finally, the bill codifies sanctions against Sudan that are now implemented through Executive Order.

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