Presidential Special Envoy to Darfur would coordinate policy, lead negotiations
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) has joined Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) and a group of her Senate colleagues in calling on President Bush to appoint a Presidential Special Envoy to Darfur to devote exclusive attention to the ongoing atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. The resolution (S. Res. 531) comes as congressional concerns are increasing over the recent departure of various Administration officials deeply involved in the Sudan conflict, leaving the region's representation in transition.
"The United States can not stand idly by while the people of Darfur continue to suffer. We need a Special Envoy dedicated to building a peace plan for Sudan that will halt the violence, ensure the return of refugees, and establish a system of accountability," said Senator Mikulski. "This resolution is one part of our efforts to show that the United States is committed to helping the people of Darfur find the peace they deserve."
The Special Envoy to Darfur would formulate and coordinate policy, lead negotiations, and monitor conflict parities compliance with the terms and deadlines outlined in the May 5, 2006, Darfur Peace Agreement. The Special Envoy would also be responsible for ensuring that this conflict remains a top priority for the U.S. Government until it is substantially resolved. To date, 400,000 people have died in Darfur from combat, hunger or various diseases, and roughly 2.5 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the ongoing violence.
Senator Mikulski has long advocated for the people of Darfur and has supported numerous congressional initiatives to bring peace to the region and provide for those affected by the conflict, including Congressional Resolution 133, which declared Darfur a genocide.
Today's resolution was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), James M. Talent (R-Mo.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).
BBC Q&A: Sudan's Darfur Conflict
US Holocaust Memorial Museum; Committee on Conscience; Darfur Alert