WASHINGTON - Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (So. Md.) is currently led a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Sudan, Egypt, Greece and Germany. Joining him were Congressman John Barrow (D-GA), Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA), Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Congressman Ray LaHood (R-IL), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Congressman Brad Miller (D-NC), Congressman Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
The Delegation briefly stopped in Athens, Greece, for a dinner with Dora Bakoyannis, Greece's Minister of Foreign Affairs this past Sunday, April 1.
The next three days were spent in Sudan. The first day the Delegation went to Juba, in Southern Sudan, where they met with President of Southern Sudan and First Vice President of Sudan Salva Kiir and other Government of Southern Sudan Ministers including Rebecca Garang, who is the Minister for Transportation and the widow of John Garang. Garang was the Vice President of Sudan and the former leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army. Members also met with the Speaker of Parliament from the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, James Wani. The Delegation then accompanied Rebecca Garang to the John Garang Memorial Site, where they paid their respects and signed the memorial book.
The Delegation traveled to El Fasher, in North Darfur, the next day. While there, Members visited El Salaam Internally Displaced Persons Camp, and met with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) Force Commander, Major General Luke Aprezi, at AMIS Headquarters. The delegation also met with UN officials working on the ground, including the UN Mission in Sudan, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
On their final day in Sudan, Members received briefings by non-governmental organizations carrying out humanitarian work in the South and Darfur, rebel leader and Darfur Peace Agreement-signatory Minni Minawi, and African Union Ambassador to Sudan Sam Ibok. The delegation also met with a senior Sudanese Foreign Ministry official.
Yesterday, the Delegation was in Egypt, where they had meetings with several Egyptian officials including President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Speaker of the People's Assembly Ahmed Fathy Sorour. The Members discussed Sudan with the officials, as well as other issues. Delegation members also attended an event with Admiral William Fallon, Commander, U.S. Central Command.
The final stop for the Delegation is Germany, where they will tour Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and visit with hospitalized servicemembers.
"I chose to travel to Sudan as my first trip as Majority Leader because Darfur demands the focus of the entire world" said Hoyer. "Genocide has been committed here, and the violence continues. I wanted to bring a bipartisan delegation to assess ground conditions and send a strong message that the world is watching. It is the government of Sudan's fundamental job, as it is that of any government, to protect all of its people.
"I also felt it was important to meet with the President Murbarak of Egypt and other leaders to discuss the crisis in Darfur and encourage them to play a leading role in bringing it to an end," concluded Hoyer.