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Hoyer Calls on Arab League to Step Up Efforts to Stop Genocide in Darfur
"Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Gentlelady from California, Congresswoman Lee, for her hard work in bringing this important bipartisan Resolution to the Floor this morning, and for her dedicated leadership in focusing attention on the continuing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
"Since 2003, more than 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur and an estimated 2.5 million have been displaced. More than three million other Darfurians depend today on international aid for their survival. The United Nations has identified the situation in Darfur as the worst current humanitarian and human rights crisis in the world. The United States calls it genocide.
"Simply stated: The international community must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of innocents - as has happened far too often throughout human history.
"The international community's plaintive cry "never again" requires real, collective action in Darfur today. And this time, we must prove that we mean it. House Concurrent Resolution 7 - which has one 115 co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle - is an important step in this cause.
"Congresswoman Lee's Resolution calls on the League of Arab States to acknowledge the genocide in Darfur; to support and accept United Nations peacekeepers as the best option to enforce a cease-fire, protect civilians, and ensure access for humanitarian aid workers; and to work with the international community to bring about a lasting peace in Darfur.
"In fact, Mr. Speaker, during the recent bipartisan Congressional Delegation trip to Sudan that I led - a CODEL which included Congresswoman Lee, as well as Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen - we also met with Egyptian President Mubarak, and specifically urged Egypt to play a leading role in ending the crisis in Darfur.
"Egypt is one of the most important members in the League of Arab States. And, I have been told that President Mubarak followed up on his pledge to our delegation to reach out to Sudanese President Bashir in support of humanitarian access in Darfur and acceptance of hybrid UN/AMIS peacekeeping force to protect civilians there.
"I also understand that Foreign Minister Gheit, with whom we met, is currently in Sudan. And, it is my hope that he is delivering the same message.
"Now is not the time to offer a full report on our CODEL. However, I do want to briefly highlight the five specific steps that I believe must be taken in Darfur without delay.
"First, it is imperative that we continue to ensure humanitarian access in Darfur.
"Second, the international community must insist that the Bashir government accept more peacekeeping troops.
"Third, we must initiate a process by which a political solution between the warring factions can be reached.
"Fourth, we must make a stronger effort to engage Sudan's neighbors in the peace process - which is what this Resolution is designed to do.
"And fifth, we must work with the Sudanese government to help forge a comprehensive plan for stability and reconstruction across the whole of the country.
"Mr. Speaker, I again want to thank Congresswoman Lee and the other Members of this House who continue to focus on Darfur. I urge all of my colleagues to support this important Resolution."