Miss Rice told representatives of the African Union at a conference in Washington that the proposed AU-U.N. peacekeeping force of up to 20,000 troops is “essential” to stopping the bloodshed in the western Sudanese region.
Fighting between government-allied Arab militias, called janjaweed, and Darfur rebels has claimed more than 200,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million civilians since 2003.
“We must not let the government of Sudan continue this game of cat-and-mouse diplomacy, making promises, then going back on them,” she said. “It is our responsibility as principled nations to hold Sudan accountable.”
Sudanese President Omar Bashir agreed in November to a plan to add peacekeepers to the 7,000 AU troops already in Sudan, then rejected the proposal. He finally accepted a joint AU-U.N. force last month.
“We must remain resolved to end the suffering and end the violence in Darfur,” Miss Rice said. “Too many have died, too many women have been raped, and too many children have been torn away.”
Miss Rice addressed a conference of African leaders, including AU Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare and officials from the Organization of American States, who met at OAS headquarters to discuss ways Western Hemisphere democracies can help African nations develop better governments.
“In recent years in Africa, we have seen a democratic transformation sweep the continent,” she said. “In the Americas, we have witnessed the end of military dictatorships and the rise of a new democratic consensus.”
“Our challenge now,” she added, “is to use our democratic partnerships, Americans and Africans together, to deliver the benefits of democracy to our people, for amidst great progress and great opportunity in our countries today, there is still great and tragic suffering.”
The Turkish ambassador yesterday cited the U.S. invasion of Iraq as a justification for a possible Turkish incursion into northern Iraq to stop Kurdish rebels from crossing the border to kill Turkish troops.
“If the United States government … feels itself to have the right to intervene in Iraq in order to protect itself from terrorists, then Turkey should be able to protect its people and its country from the threat and the actual activities of a terrorist organization at our doorstep,” Ambassador Nabi Sensoy told reporters at a breakfast meeting.
Mr. Sensoy complained that the United States has failed to use its influence on the Iraqi government and the Kurdish Regional Authority in northern Iraq to stop terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from acquiring arms to attack Turkey.
“We know the United States is supplying arms to the northern Iraqi administration, and it is just possible that they have been ending up in the hands of the terrorist organization,” the ambassador said.