NEW YORK, May 29, 2007 – A response from Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service, in reaction to President Bush’s statement today on sanctions against the government of Sudan:
President Bush today acknowledged the horrendous ongoing genocide in Darfur, focused a spotlight on President Bashir as the perpetrator of this evil against his own people and took a few steps to end the violence. Tightening U.S. sanctions on Sudanese companies and penalizing individuals responsible for violence in Darfur are long overdue actions, but they are grossly insufficient.
To make these measures effective, President Bush must now commit to intense ongoing enforcement. He must build an international consensus to stop the atrocities and hold President Bashir accountable. Introduction of a new U.N. resolution imposing comprehensive international sanctions on the government of Sudan is an absolutely critical measure. Equally important is concerted U.S. diplomacy to ensure the resolution’s passage coupled with a commitment from the world community to enforce it. Too many resolutions have been passed and never implemented, serving only to embolden the Khartoum regime. President Bush knows full well that his administration should be doing all it can with as many nations as possible to increase pressure on China to stop protecting Sudan.
Most immediately, President Bush needs to make good on his pledge to support peacekeeping in Darfur. He must ensure that the U.S. honors its commitment to provide funds for the African Union troops and that a robust U.N. peacekeeping force is on the ground and fully resourced as soon as possible. The President must offer a budget amendment for these funds since his 2008 budget request to Congress did not include any support for the African Union peacekeepers in Darfur.
There is no more time to waste. It is not enough for the President to state that “The United States will not avert our eyes from a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world.” He must take additional actions immediately to increase pressure on Khartoum: impose further sanctions, indict the real powers behind the genocide, support divestment legislation, and take immediate steps to implement a multilateral no-fly zone.
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David L. Marcus