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Bush To The People Of Darfur

In A speech delivered to members of the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, President George W. Bush discussed the situation of people living in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Speaking directly to the people Mr. Bush said they "have suffered unspeakable violence":

"My nation has called these atrocities what they are –- genocide. For the last two-years, America joined with the international community to provide emergency food aid and support for an African Union peacekeeping force. Yet your suffering continues. The world must step forward to provide additional humanitarian aid –- and we must strengthen the African Union force that has done good work, but is not strong enough to protect you."

By passing Security Council resolution seventeen-zero-six, the U-N voted to transform the seven-thousand member African Union force into a U-N peacekeeping force of some twenty-thousand soldiers and police. But, "[t]he Sudanese regime in Khartoum," says Mr. Bush, "is stopping the deployment of this force":

"If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the United Nations must act. Your lives and the credibility of the United Nations is at stake."

Fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003, after rebels complained that the region had been marginalized by the central government. Rebels attacked Sudanese government facilities. The Sudanese government responded by arming a militia called the Janjaweed. More than two-hundred-thousand people have died from fighting, famine, and disease. Some two million are living in refugee camps inside and outside Sudan.

As President Bush has said: "The vulnerable people of Darfur deserve more than sympathy. They deserve the active protection that U-N peacekeepers can provide."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.