Members of the U.S. Congress are debating a measure calling on
governments to step up assistance to the United Nations/African Union
Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur. VOA's Dan Robinson reports, in the
debate and in separate legislation approved by the House, China's role
in Sudan also came up.
Approved by voice vote, the resolution
expresses support for the one-year-old U.N./African Union mission in
Darfur and calls on governments to provide the resources needed to
ensure its success.
These include troops, and essential tactical
and utility helicopters that have been lacking to date, severely
limiting the capabilities of the U.N. force.
point to the deaths of seven and the wounding of more 22 U.N.
peacekeepers in early July in Darfur, along with previous attacks in
which peacekeepers were taken hostage or beaten.
Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman says the U.S. has a moral duty
to protect civilians in Darfur. "The president and the secretary of
Defense must marshal U.S. defense department assets, including
helicopters, and immediately deploy them to UNAMID," he said.
Steve Chabot, the resolution's main sponsor, notes that the U.S. has
provided more than $4 billion in peacekeeping, reconstruction and
humanitarian aid for Darfur. He says it is time for the rest of the
world to do its part. "It is past time for our European allies and
especially the wealthy Arab countries to assist in this effort."
debate on the U.N. peacekeeping measure, and a separate resolution
dealing with China, lawmakers focused on the Chinese government's role
in providing economic and military support for Sudan.
Chinese government continues to support the genocidal regime in Sudan
and the military junta in Burma. Their actions run counter to our
interests in promoting peace, stability and morality in the world. The
situation in the Sudan would change drastically if the Chinese
government would cooperate at the U.N. and send that message to the
Sudanese government," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Chris Smith also takes aim at China in urging stronger support for the
U.N. force. "The Chinese government has enabled the dictatorship in
Sudan to carry on the atrocities in Darfur by providing the materiel so
the government and the troops have the guns and the helicopters to
strafe, and to kill and to maim in Darfur," he said.
In a news
conference on Wednesday, Nina Shea of the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom also touched on Chinese support for the
government in Khartoum. "The commission has asked President Bush to
urge the Chinese government, as the Sudanese government's major oil
partner and arms supplier, to use its considerable leverage to end
genocide and protect religious freedom in Sudan where horrific human
rights violations are occurring," she said.
Wednesday, a group of lawmakers sent a bipartisan letter to President
Bush on China's role in Sudan. "Protesting China's violations of the
arms embargo against Sudan. We are asking the president to raise this
issue with [China's] President Hu [Jintao], and to seek a stronger
embargo if China continues to send arms and equipment to Sudan that are
used against the defenseless people of Darfur," said Massachusetts
Democrat Jim McGovern.
In urging U.N. members to provide the
resources to ensure the success of UNAMID, House lawmakers also call on
the Sudanese government to ensure that those responsible for attacks on
U.N. forces are brought to justice.