Letter on Darfur to Secretary of State Rice Regarding Efforts to End Tragedy in Darfur, July 9, 2007

Year Published
  • 2013
  • English

July 9, 2007

The Honorable Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

I write to express appreciation for the leadership of the Administration in their efforts to secure an end to the terrible tragedy in Darfur and in providing resources for humanitarian assistance; at the same time, I must urge more concerted U.S. action. The implementation of Plan B sanctions added some needed pressure on the government in Khartoum to put an end to the violence, but continued leadership in pressuring the Sudanese government is increasingly necessary as the conflict continues.

In the year that has followed the Darfur Peace Agreement, peace is far from what Darfur is experiencing. There has been increased fighting in the region, more villages have been destroyed, and thousands more people have been displaced. Especially disheartening, there has been decreased humanitarian access to internally displaced persons and other Darfuris who are in desperate need of aid and assistance. At the same time, the United Nations and African Union are embarking on a political process that aims to restart negotiations and broker a real peace, but many obstacles remain, including resistance by the government in Khartoum and divisions among rebel groups.

The international community is now at a critical juncture in the efforts to end the Darfur conflict. Increased and more effective diplomacy is crucial. The U.S. should redouble its diplomatic efforts in cooperation with UN Security Council members, the European Union, the Arab League, Eritrea, and Chad in order to work towards consensus on a political strategy to end the crisis in Darfur. Most importantly, we must recognize that the U.S., China, and France all have the ability to exert great influence to end this tragedy, and have a special responsibility to do the diplomatic “heavy lifting” in support of the AU and UN envoys, given that the road ahead will doubtlessly be faced with significant challenges. These three countries - by acting together, working with the actors within the region and applying pressure if necessary - have the capacity to effectively bring this tragedy to an end. I urge the United States to lead the way in unifying and redoubling diplomatic efforts to bring peace to Darfur. 

The United States must continue to strengthen initiative to bring a definitive end to the intolerable moral and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Progress towards peace can only be made with strengthened U.S. diplomacy and cooperation among nations. We offer our support for continued and enhanced U.S. leadership to end this crisis.

Sincerely yours,

Bishop Thomas G. Wenski
Bishop of Orlando
Chairman, Committee on International Policy

cc: Mr. Andrew Natsios

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