October 2nd, 2006 08:39 EST
United Nations Should Approve Darfur Force Now, Bush Says
President meets with U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios at White House
Washington -- President Bush says the world has a responsibility to respond to genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan and the United Nations "should not wait any longer" to approve a U.N. peacekeeping force to protect civilians there.
Speaking with U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Andrew Natsios October 2, the president said the United Nations "can play an important role in helping us achieve our objective, which is to end human suffering and deprivation," and repeated the U.S. characterization of the suffering as genocide.
"In my view, the United Nations should not wait any longer to approve a blue-helmeted force, a U.N. force of peacekeepers, to protect the innocent people," Bush said.
The president said he had selected Natsios, who previously served as director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, to "help rally the world to solve the problem" and said Natsios has a lot of experience in the region and "shares a deep concern about the suffering in Darfur." (See related article.)
Natsios said he planned to use his 17 years of experience, including contacts with Sudanese leaders, to "move this process along," with the goal of addressing the root causes of the conflict in order to successfully end the conflict.
"I have a great affection, personally, for the Sudanese people, north and south. My first trip to Darfur was 17 years ago, during the first Darfur war -- this is the third war in Darfur in 17 years," he said.
Both he and President Bush are "committed" to ending the conflict, Natsios said, and "We're going to see what we can do."
For additional information, see Darfur Humanitarian Emergency.
A transcript of remarks by Bush and Natsios is available on the White House Web site.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)