October 7th, 2006 04:47 EST
Ambassador Bolton says Sudanese warnings created atmosphere of intimidation
Facing strong objections by the United States and other nations, Sudan has withdrawn its warning to countries potentially supplying troops to a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said.
Bolton, speaking in New York October 6, said Sudan's ambassador to the United States informed the Bush administration that a recent letter from Sudan's U.N. mission "no longer reflected Sudanese policy." The letter had warned that contributing troops to the U.N. force would be considered a "hostile act" by Khartoum. (See related article.)
"The government of Sudan has backed down, and this threat against potential troop-contributing countries I take to be null and void," he said.
Bolton credited the "strong position" taken by members of the Security Council, including the United States, against "the atmosphere of intimidation" caused by Sudan's threat against potential troop contributors.
However, he added, there is still a need to "dispel" that atmosphere. He said the United States remains focused on the goal of moving peacekeeping operations in Darfur from the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) to a larger U.N. force.
"It would be a mistake to believe that the government in Khartoum can frustrate the U.N. and therefore frustrate the international community," Bolton said.
On October 6, the Security Council extended the mandate for the U.N. Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) for an additional six months -- until April 30, 2007 -- “with the intention to renew it for further periods.” The mission supports the implementation of Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and performs some functions relating to humanitarian assistance, protection, promotion of human rights, and supporting AMIS.
At the State Department, deputy spokesman Tom Casey said the United States is pleased to have received clarification from the Sudanese government.
"They've made clear to us that that idea that somehow offering contributions to a U.N. force would be some kind of hostile act in fact does not reflect the policy of their government," Casey said.
The United States understands that stopping the violence in Darfur is "long overdue," Casey said, and is addressing the violence by providing "a large portion of the humanitarian assistance needed," as well as working to strengthen and support the existing African Union force.
However, he added, "what we need to see happen is not just a strengthening of that force but see it re-hatted as soon as possible into a broader, stronger United Nations force."
Casey said President Bush's special envoy for Sudan, Andrew Natsios, has applied for a visa to travel to Sudan later in October, and the United States expects his visa will be granted.
"He intends to travel out there … [and] continue to have our discussions with the government of Sudan, to encourage them and push them to do the right thing and do what they essentially agreed to under the Darfur peace agreement, which is accept a U.N. force and to move forward with implementation of it," Casey said.
Earlier on October 6, President Bush spoke with Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade on the situation in Darfur and "emphasized an urgent need to stop the offensive of the government of Sudan."
White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said Bush "stressed the need to facilitate access for delivery of humanitarian assistance." In his conversation with Wade, Bush called for AMIS to transition to a U.N. force and "stated that friends and allies need to work together to solve the genocide and stop the suffering of the people of Darfur."
Asked about current U.S. economic sanctions imposed upon Sudan, the deputy press secretary said there is a "pretty full and extensive list" of prohibitions against foreign assistance to this country.
This includes "a ban of defense exports and sales, controls over U.S. exports to Sudan of dual-use items, directed voting at the international financial institutions and other miscellaneous financial restrictions," Perino said.
A http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/06_261.htm of Bolton’s remarks is available on Web site of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
For additional information, see Darfur Humanitarian Emergency.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)