Letter to Madeline Albright
May 1, 1999
by Center for Religious Freedom
The Honorable Madeline K. Albright
Secretary of State Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Subject: Sudan Peace Process
Dear Madame Secretary:
We write out of concern about the continued lack of progress toward bringing an end to the bloody conflict in Sudan. As you know, this is the world's longest running civil war, whose human toll far surpasses the Kosovo crisis and numerous humanitarian disasters combined.
We question whether current policy, which looks to an enhanced regional peace process known as "IGAD" (the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) as the best hope for ending Sudan's war, will produce results. IGAD's strengths and accomplishments are laudable, given the immense challenges the conflict presents. The principles IGAD has established as a framework for political negotiations should be maintained. Yet, without concerted diplomatic attention from the United States and the international community, we fear that the process will encounter more delays like those that have stalled the current round of talks.
Real progress, we believe, will require more active, creative, and sustained U.S. diplomatic leadership. To that end, we urge you to appoint a high-level special envoy dedicated to the Sudan peace process. As long as it drags on, the war will continue to perpetuate the cycle of misery that has already claimed nearly two million lives over the past 15 years. Throughout the war, the rebels and the Government of Sudan each have made repeated predictions of decisive military victories over the other side that have never materialized, and no significant shift in the current stalemate or in the military balance of power is foreseen in the near future. By all indications, without concerted international diplomatic attention and intervention, Sudan's war can and will continue to drag on as it has almost without interruption for the past four decades.
Humanitarian aid aimed at saving lives and easing human suffering must continue. Nonetheless, the United Nations, relief agencies and others have questioned whether aid has enabled the endless pursuit of war and terrorism. In late 1998, the State Department declared Sudan an emergency - for the 10th consecutive year - so that another $70 million to $100 million in U.S. disaster aid could be sent to those in need. The total U.S. contribution during the last decade has been more then $700 million. We all must ask ourselves how long this can continue, and what could be accomplished if even a fraction of those resources could be invested in helping Sudan build a more peaceful future.
There is a diplomatic leadership void on Sudan that only the United States can fill. Neither the European Union, nor the "IGAD Partners Forum" has a strong, unified policy for ending the war. It is time for The United States to put a higher priority on ending Sudan's Cruel war. Sudan's people deserve no less.
With best regards.
CO-SIGNERS AS OF MAY 26, 1999:
Rep. Hall (OH),
Rep. Brown (FL),