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U.S. Credibility on Darfur at Stake in Critical Week at UN
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Sep 20, 2006 - 9:46:00 PM

AFRICA ACTION PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Ann-Louise Colgan (202) 546-7961

"U.S. Credibility on Darfur At Stake in Critical Week at UN"

U.S. Must Redouble Diplomatic Efforts to Break International Deadlock on
Darfur;
AU Extension Cannot Substitute for Deployment of Robust Peacekeeping
Force to Protect Civilians

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 (Washington, DC) – As world leaders meet
in New York this week to determine next steps on the Darfur crisis,
Africa Action today questioned the commitment of the U.S. to breaking
the current deadlock and leading new international action to stop the
ongoing genocide. The organization emphasized today that an all-out
diplomatic offensive on Darfur was required from the U.S. this week, and
that President Bush’s announcement of a new special envoy must not
substitute for the heavy-lifting required in the comings days to pave
the way for a peacekeeping force that can ensure protection for the
people of Darfur.

Also today, as reports indicate the likelihood of an extension of the
African Union (AU) mandate in Darfur beyond September 30th, Africa
Action underscored the fundamental inadequacy of the AU mission and the
urgent need for the deployment of a robust international peacekeeping
force to support the AU and protect civilians in Darfur. The
organization stressed that any extension of the AU mandate would not buy
more time to negotiate the deployment of a UN force, and that the
decision to deploy UN peacekeepers must take place within days, not
months, in order to avoid a security gap in Darfur.

Ann-Louise Colgan, Acting Co-Executive Director of Africa Action, said
today, “The appointment of a special envoy for Darfur cannot substitute
for a U.S. plan of action to break the deadlock and stop the genocide.
The credibility of the U.S. on Darfur will be judged by the successful
pursuit of a diplomatic offensive at the UN this week, to overcome
Khartoum’s opposition to a UN force and galvanize Security Council
action to protect the people of Darfur.”

Africa Action notes that the U.S. has numerous leverage points to
overcome current international obstacles to the deployment of a
peacekeeping force for Darfur. The organization urges the Bush
Administration to make this a top priority in New York this week, and to
pressure Sudan and its allies, particularly Russia and China, to accept
the will of the international community for an international force to
protect civilians in Darfur.

Marie Clarke Brill, Acting Co-Executive Director of Africa Action, said
today, “This week’s meetings in New York will determine the fate of the
people of Darfur. The White House is taking some steps to respond to
widespread citizen activism, but the appointment of a special envoy must
be followed by new U.S. action to achieve the deployment of a UN force
to Darfur. Nothing less than peacekeepers on the ground can stop the
genocide, and nothing less will be acceptable to the millions of
Americans who continue to take action on this crisis.”

As the security situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate, Africa
Action emphasized the responsibility of the Security Council to
implement Resolution 1706 and deploy international peacekeepers to
Darfur, to bolster the AU mission and provide security to civilians now.

Africa Action’s new report, “A Tale of Two Genocides: The Failed U.S.
Response to Rwanda and Darfur” is available at: http://www.africaaction.org/

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