U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the government of Sudan should immediately accept a United Nations peacekeeping force for Darfur. She says, "The time for stalling has passed":
"Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have been murdered. Nearly two million more have been driven and displaced from their homes in Darfur. . . .The United States has called the tragedy by the only name that captures its meaning, the only name it deserves – genocide."
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, funding, and encouraging a militia called the Janjaweed. In August, the U-N Security Council authorized the transformation of the seven-thousand member African Union force in Darfur into a U-N peacekeeping force of some twenty-thousand soldiers and police.
Ms. Rice says that the main source of opposition to U-N peacekeepers is the Sudanese government. She says Sudan faces "a choice between cooperation and confrontation":
"If the government of Sudan chooses cooperation – if it works with the United Nations and welcomes the U-N force into Darfur – then it will find a dedicated partner in the United States. . . .But, if the Sudanese government chooses confrontation, if it continues waging war against its own citizens. . . .then the regime in Khartoum will be held responsible and it alone will bear the consequences of its actions."
"If the Sudanese government wishes to become a respected member of the international community," says Secretary of State Rice, "then it must act like one and behave responsibly." She says, "The nations of the world have made it clear what we expect to hear from the leaders of Sudan. They know what they need to do. And so do we."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.