About the Author: Tim Shortley is the new Senior Representative for Sudan at the U.S. Department of State.
I am in New York this week to attend the United National General Assembly's General Debate and to work on peace and security issues affecting Sudan, and I wanted to write a quick note. I and others who work on Sudan have been having a busy week so far. Sudan is one of the top African issues being discussed this week, given the increased insecurity we have seen over the past few weeks in Darfur and the calls for a ceasefire and political dialogue. We support the efforts of the new Joint Mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, and his newly-appointed Deputy, Azouz Ennifar, and look forward to discussing how we can assist him to bring a credible process for peace in Darfur.
We are also keen to hear what the Sudan Sanctions Committee's Panel of Experts will brief about the current status of arms in Darfur. The Panel of Experts report is expected to be passed to Security Council members by the end of September. I have also been meeting with U.N. Department of Peacekeeping officials to discuss possible U.S. assistance to increase the number of peacekeepers to be deployed to Darfur in support of the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). We would like to increase the number of peacekeepers in Darfur by 4,000 troops before the end of the year. Countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Rwanda and Thailand are ready to come to Darfur to play an important role in stabilizing the region. Significant time is also being spent discussing the question of the ICC indictment against Sudanese President Bashir and ways that the facts on the ground can be changed in the next four months. I will provide an update when I return from New York.