[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with U.S. Special Envoy to the Sudan, Scott Gration, today to discuss the Obama Administration’s new policy toward the war-torn country. The approach announced yesterday by Secretary of State Clinton combines a campaign of pressure and incentives to pursue peace in the Darfur region of the Sudan, ensure implementation of the peace agreement with South Sudan and to provide greater cooperation on international terrorism.
"Years from now, we cannot allow ourselves to look back and say we did nothing while a genocide happened in Darfur," Durbin said. "The U.S. and the global community have a moral responsibility to speak out and act to save the people of Darfur and promote a lasting peace for all of Sudan. The new approach outlined yesterday affirms our commitment to greater global engagement and to the protection of human rights abroad.”
Special Envoy Gration briefed Durbin on the new Administration policy in addition to giving updates on the violence in Darfur, the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan and the status of peacekeeping operations in the country.
Over the last year, Darfur has seen an overall reduction in violence and the continued deployment of a UN/African Union peacekeeping force. Prior to the 2007 Security Council vote establishing the peacekeeping force, Durbin personally lobbied UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the African members of the Security Council, and the Ambassadors of China and Russia, urging them to support the resolution and promising US support if the resolution passed.
Since 2004, Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, has advocated for greater U.S. involvement in ending the nearly seven year long conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. That conflict, and the subsequent genocide, has claimed more than 300,000 lives and displaced more than 2.5 million Darfuris.