by Ralph Nader
Friday, April 11. 2008
Dear President Bush,
Much of the world has condemned the violence and called on the Sudanese government to end the slaughter. You and your administration have, properly, called the mass killing “genocide,” and urged a peace process.
But the horror in Darfur continues. Tens of thousands more have been displaced in the last month. Violence has intensified in Western Darfur. Meanwhile, millions of displaced people are giving up hope of returning to their homes.
The noble words of your administration and the outside world have not been enough to change the course of the Sudanese government.
The United States knows how to deploy its political power and influence. It is now time to put more political muscle behind the effort to end the genocide, and achieve a peaceful solution to this conflict.
One leverage point is normalization of relations with the Sudanese government. You and your administration should announce that the United States will not normalize its relationship with Sudan until the Sudanese government removes all obstacles to the full deployment of the multilateral United Nations-African Union peacekeeping operation (UNAMID), fully implements the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and engages in good faith in a comprehensive, open and inclusive peace process in Darfur.
It is vital that the Sudanese government not be permitted to delay and derail UNAMID. A report in the International Herald Tribune succinctly captures the urgency of the situation:
“As Darfur smolders in the aftermath of a new government offensive, a long-sought peacekeeping force, expected to be the world’s largest, is in danger of failing even before it begins its mission because of bureaucratic delays, stonewalling by the Sudanese government and reluctance from troop-contributing countries to send peacekeeping forces into an active conflict.”
Rather than blaming the UN for delays, the United States should exercise leverage to accelerate the deployment of the personnel and resources that would make UNAMID into an effective force, and to overcome the Chinese government’s objections to deployment.
The United States has a complicated and interconnected relationship with China, but much more could be done to dissuade China from its ongoing support of the Sudanese government. The United States is willing to file claims against China at the World Trade Organization to protest failures to enforce patents, copyright and trademarks. Is it too much to ask for an equally robust effort to stop the slaughter of innocent human beings?
The U.S.’s Special Envoy for Sudan is the direct means for the United States to press Sudan to get peace negotiations jump-started and to remove obstacles to the full deployment of UNAMID. The Special Envoy’s office should be fully and adequately staffed, commensurate with the seriousness of his mission.
We look forward to your reply.
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