Save Darfur Coalition disappointed in Bush Darfur speech

Save Darfur

Sld, Sauver Le Darfour , 19 Avril 2007

WASHINGTON – David C. Rubenstein, executive director of the Save Darfur Coalition, today released a statement following President Bush’s speech regarding the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

“The Save Darfur Coalition was disappointed that, in his speech today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Bush failed to announce the immediate imposition of tough sanctions against the Sudanese regime aimed at leveraging an end to the genocide in Darfur. The president also failed to fix a specific deadline for the imposition of these sanctions in the event of continued Sudanese genocidal actions in Darfur and stonewalling of the international community.

“The Save Darfur Coalition was pleased with the president’s stark and accurate description of the horrors in Darfur, the Sudanese government’s primary responsibility for them, and the endless lies, broken agreements and delaying tactics President al-Bashir has used to pursue the killing and evade international pressure. Our coalition also appreciated the president’s unprecedented specificity regarding the concrete measures his administration has been developing as its ‘Plan B.’ The Save Darfur Coalition has long advocated the imposition of tougher sanctions and, while we are very sceptical they would be enough to change President al-Bashir’s behavior, they would have been an important step.

“Because there is such doubt that the envisaged ‘Plan B’ sanctions would be effective in stopping the genocide quickly, the Save Darfur Coalition continues to call on the president to impose measures going beyond those he described in his speech. Those include immediate steps to implement the no-fly zone the president only touched on in his speech, and the full range of sanctions authorized in 2006 in the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act – including the banning of entry of ships that have carried Sudanese oil into U.S. ports. This would also mean broadening the targeting of sanctions beyond just the three currently intended individuals.

“Above all, it is essential that the president specifically state his deadline. That deadline needs to be very short.

“In fact, the administration already set a deadline, and the Save Darfur Coalition insists now that it be respected. Special Envoy Andrew Natsios last week told the U.S. Senate that imposition of ‘Plan B’ sanctions was postponed two to four weeks because of an April 2 request from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. That was 2 1/2 weeks ago. The administration’s own deadline, stated to the U.S. Senate in a public setting, would then be no later than four weeks from April 2.

“The Save Darfur Coalition therefore calls for the imposition of tough measures to end Khartoum’s intransigence before the world, and the killing in Darfur, no later than the first week of May, as was stated by the president’s special envoy. Those measures should be imposed, and not further postponed, unless by that date President al-Bashir has demonstrably and conclusively acted to end the genocide and both cooperate with and facilitate the work of the international community in support of the people of Darfur.

“Diplomacy alone with President al-Bashir has failed, as the record of the last four years so well-described by the president in his speech makes unarguable. Any further delay in the imposition of tough, coercive measures to give diplomacy any hope of success, and the people of Darfur any hope of a future, can have no justification.”

*About David Rubenstein – David Rubenstein, Executive Director of the Save Darfur Coalition, recently returned with fresh video footage of refugee camps and other areas in the eastern regions of Chad directly affected by the crisis in Darfur. He helped organize the Coalition in 2004 and has worked since then to raise awareness about the crisis and to advocate for the protection for the people of Darfur. Rubenstein has met with world leaders, noted global advocates, refugees, and hundreds of allied organizations to discuss the crisis and how to spur the world community to action.

*About the Save Darfur Coalition – The Save Darfur Coalition raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. It is an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations. The Coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the Coalition, please visit