"We Must Not, Will Not Lose Sight of Darfur"

Posted by Scott Gration
July 10, 2010
Sudanese Refugees Ride Donkeys During Sandstorm in Darfur

About the Author: Major General (Ret) Scott Gration serves as the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan.

Just six months to go until the referenda on Southern Sudan's independence and the status of Abyei. As the international community turns its attention to planning for January 9, 2011, I believe continued engagement on Darfur is as important and relevant as it ever was. The President's Strategy calls for a holistic approach to resolving conflict in Sudan, and peace in Darfur remains a critical pillar of that strategy. At the same time, there is no single government, institution, or organization alone responsible for ending the Darfur conflict. Partnership and collaboration are essential to our efforts in the region, and I'm working closely with the African Union, United Nations, Arab League members, and my fellow Envoys from the UK, EU, France, Russia, and China to ensure success. The Government of Sudan and rebel groups, of course, have special responsibility to refrain from further violence and to create conditions on the ground conducive to international peace-building efforts. This charge remains a significant part of my ongoing discussions with these groups.

The peace process in Doha is still a priority. We continue to support the work of the AU/UN Joint Chief Mediator and the Government of Qatar to facilitate peace talks between the Government of Sudan and Darfur movements. I was encouraged earlier this year when Chad-Sudan relations improved and several Darfur factions united under the umbrella of the Liberation and Justice Movement catalyzed progress in negotiations. I'm disappointed, however, that Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim has chosen to abandon the negotiations. Last month I traveled to Tripoli to urge him to send his delegation back to Doha. Later this month will make my sixth trip to Qatar where I hope to meet with representatives of Abdul Wahid's Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM).

As talks in Doha proceed with the long-term aim of reaching a comprehensive peace agreement, we are taking all steps possible in the near-term to improve the security and living conditions of Darfuris. The recent spike in casualties caused by increased fighting between the Government of Sudan and JEM is deeply troubling. I'm also gravely concerned about reports of continued banditry, assaults, and gender-based violence targeting civilians, as well as recent kidnappings of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. I believe we must improve the operating environment and safety for those who are working in Darfur. To that end, we are working closely with the Government of Sudan, with the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur, and with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to increase security and stability.

While planning for the referenda is of the utmost urgency, we must not and will not lose sight of Darfur. The United States has allocated more than $1.1 billion in FY 2009 funds to support humanitarian, early recovery, security, and peacekeeping activities in Darfur and Eastern Chad, and this assistance will continue. We're also directly supporting organizations that will build the capacity of Darfuri development NGOs, identify opportunities for reconciliation activities, and conduct outreach to internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, and Arab and nomadic tribes to ensure their voices are heard in the peace process. I will travel to El Fasher later this month for consultations on these initiatives, as well as agriculture and education projects. I'm committed to bringing sustainable peace to Darfur and the region.



Mark H.
Tennessee, USA
July 10, 2010

Mark C.H. in Tennessee writes:

Is the U.S. really doing everything it can to prevent war and promote peace?

With all due respect General Gration, you have repeatedly made it clear you do not believe the United States has any leverage in Sudan, when it is clear that the ICC arrest warrants as well as U.S. military capability are only two of many leverage points.

Does the United States have a contingency plan for what to do if renewed, heavy fighting and war break out in Darfur, south Sudan, or both? How far are you willing to go with my tax-paying dollars to save lives?

We need solutions General Gration, not more talk from our government that "we're doing everything we can." If we were, Bashir would be arrested, Darfur would be safer, and south Sudan could vote 100% peacefully during the referenda on independence.

We've done everything we can when justice is served and the people of Sudan are safe from genocide. I expect nothing less than success General Gration.

South Korea
July 13, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Should obtain the final vote. I need help I think.

Anthony A.
Pennsylvania, USA
July 17, 2010

Anthony R.A. in Pennsylvania writes:

Dear Sir,
I have just been made aware of the atrocities that are taking place in Darfur, I knew there was conflict but I thought it had been resolved. I am appalled that in this day and age with all the resources at the worlds disposal that we cannot insure basic safety and human rights to all peoples of the world. I am praying every day for you Sir, and others like you to take a bold stand against any who would oppose freedom and enforce it with terror. I want you to also know that if I found out what is happening it means that many others are as well. Feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do in my area to raise awareness or anything else I can do to be a part of this mission. I have found myself comfortably relaxing in my air condition room, watching TV, and enjoying an ice cold glass of water, now I know, it's time for change.

Nell O.
Connecticut, USA
July 22, 2010

Nell O. in Connecticut writes:

What are you doing to help the people of Darfur receive potable water, enough food and medical aid? Is that part of your discussion?


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