Chapel Hill, North Carolina – At The Ed Schultz Show National Town Hall Meeting at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill today, Senator John Edwards called for the United States to take immediate action to aid two humanitarian crises in Africa. Edwards will also speak about the need for America to show moral leadership and address the crises in Darfur and Uganda during his remarks tonight at the National Jewish Democratic Council.
"We need to end the suffering in Darfur and Uganda," said Edwards. "Too many families have lost their homes, too many women and girls have been raped, too many children have been tortured and too many lives have been lost. We are at critical moments in Darfur and Uganda. The United States needs to take urgent, decisive action now to end the suffering and bring peace to the region."
"As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, there comes a time for all of us when silence is betrayal -- not just betrayal of your own personal convictions, not just betrayal of your country, but a betrayal of responsibility to each other, to our brothers and sisters, not just in America, but all across the globe," said Edwards. "Millions of Americans from college students to faith leaders, all across the political spectrum, have raised their voices and taken action. Now it is time for America's leadership to break its silence and return our country to its rightful place as a moral leader of the world."
Conflict that began in Darfur in 2003 turned into genocide. The deployment of 3,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops, a critical link to ending the genocide, has been delayed. Violence and chaos are spreading to neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic.
To end the humanitarian crises, Edwards called for a combination of U.S. and NATO actions to accelerate the peacekeeping process. Edwards' comprehensive plan includes the following steps:
- President Bush should reverse his decision to delay new American sanctions on 29 companies owned or controlled by the Sudanese government.
- American airlift capabilities, logistical support and intelligence operations should be deployed to assist U.N. and African Union peacekeeping efforts in Darfur.
- The U.S. should convene within the next 30 days an emergency meeting of NATO's leadership to act on Darfur.
- NATO countries should support the deployment of U.N. troops with logistical, operational, and financial support.
- NATO should establish a no-fly zone over the region, to cut off supplies to the brutal Janjaweed militias and end Sudanese bombing of civilians in Darfur.
- NATO member countries should impose new multilateral sanctions on the Sudanese government as well as individuals complicit in the genocide.
"With these steps, I believe we can turn the corner in Sudan and put the nation back on the road to peace," said Edwards.
In Uganda, which has long been plagued by a civil war, peace talks have recently resumed between the government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. Last fall, Edwards visited Uganda, traveled to internally displaced persons' camps in the north, and met with President Musuveni to discuss the government's needs. He called on President Bush to take three immediate steps that will help ensure the success of the talks. Edwards said the President should:
- Make a clear, unambiguous public statement of support for the Juba Peace Talks and for Special Envoy Chissano ...
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