House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi says an 11-member Congressional delegation, which just returned from a visit to five African nations, is committed to working with President Bush to expand a multinational peacekeeping force to help end the violence in Darfur, Western Sudan.
The senior bipartisan delegation spent a week in Sudan, South Africa, Liberia, Ghana, and Cape Verde meeting with heads of state and government officials on how to end a crisis that the United States has characterized as genocide. The African presidents who met with the legislators agreed that the Darfur crisis should be resolved through negotiations but that more troops are needed to end the violence while negotiations take place.
Congresswoman Pelosi told English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser, “There was a “positive response that we received every place we went to President Bush’s suggestion that the African Union troops had to be supplemented by something more.”
She said that in their consultations, the United States delegation gained a “more positive view of what the African Union has already accomplished. I think they form the basis of something that can end the violence and bring people to the table in Darfur. “Those hopes were echoed by foreign leaders on US delegation stops in South Africa and Ghana who said African Union troops are doing a good job.
Ms. Pelosi, who is the leader of House Democrats, the minority party in Congress, says, “They cannot do it alone. It is too vast a territory, the size of Texas. And they only have seven thousand troops. “It’s clear we have to expand the capability, and all of the heads of state were completely clear about their call for bringing the opposing sides to the negotiating table.”