President George W. Bush has named Andrew Natsios, the former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, as a special envoy to Sudan. Mr. Bush says that the people living in Sudan's Darfur region "have suffered unspeakable violence":
"We believe the world has a responsibility to respond to what this government [the U.S.] has called genocide. And Andrew Natsios is going to help rally the world to solve the problem. The United Nations can play an important role in helping us achieve our objective, which is to end human suffering and deprivation."
Mr. Natsios says that it is time "to move this process along":
"I think what our objective [in Darfur] is not just to have a temporary fix for two months, but to try to deal with the root causes of this, so we don't have another fourth war in five years should we end this one successfully."
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. To fight the rebellion, Sudan's regime armed and unleashed a horse-mounted militia called the Janjaweed that targeted not only the rebels but tribes thought to be supporting them. The Janjaweed murdered men, raped women, and beat children to death. They also burned homes and farms, poisoned wells, and stole land to graze their own animals.
Since the fighting began, more than two-hundred-thousand people in Darfur have died from conflict, famine, or disease. Some two million now live in refugee camps. A ceasefire was declared in April 2004, but it has been routinely violated by both sides. The Sudanese government has promised to disarm the Janjaweed by the middle of this month [October] and the main rebel group says it will withdraw into specified areas.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice 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.