"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Minister comments on Darfur situation

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, made a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today. He said the following (my emphasis):
"The suffering of the people of Darfur shames the world. There has been human tragedy on a massive scale, with the intimidation, rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocents, and the displacement of vast numbers from their homes.

I have visited a displacement camp myself. I have seen the precariousness of the lives of the people there, but also their determination to return home to a better future for themselves and their children.

The people of Darfur have three essential needs. First, humanitarian aid must be delivered safely and without restrictions. Secondly, there must be an international peace-keeping force with a robust mandate. As set out by the Security Council, it should be a well-equipped and substantial UN force. I again appeal strongly to the Sudanese Government to agree to the deployment of such a force, and to all those with influence on it to persuade it to do so. I simply cannot emphasise enough the urgency of this. Pending the arrival of a UN force, the African Union force, whose continuation I welcome, should have the resources necessary to play a more effective role.

Thirdly, long-term security can only be guaranteed by the full implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Last year the World Summit defined the international community's responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, should national authorities fail to do so. It would be a disgrace if this major advance became an exercise in empty rhetoric.

The Government of Sudan has fundamental responsibility for the safety of its own people. The international community must find ways to persuade it to live up to that responsibility, if need be including further measures against it. We cannot indefinitely stand by and watch with horror from the sidelines."


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