EU on Europe's Darfur role
Regarding "Where is Europe's voice against genocide?" by Kenneth Jacobson (March 21, Views): Far from being "missing in action," Europe is taking center stage in the effort to bring about a solution to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan.
Since January 2004, the European Union has been the main provider of support to the African Union's efforts to stabilize Darfur on all fronts: humanitarian, political and in the security field, including police and military. So far the European Union has also provided 500 million euros in humanitarian aid.
Jacobson claims that the EU has not supported the United States in requesting stronger action by the United Nations. This is not true. Only a few weeks ago, high level EU officials hosted a series of meetings in Brussels between representatives from the United States, Sudan, the African Union and the United Nations. The aim was to get agreement on a smooth transition from the current, overstretched AU force to a stronger UN force later this year. Two days later, the African Union took the decision to do just that and speed up the peace process.
In the coming months, the European Union will step up assistance for the peace process; increase financial aid and other support for the African Union mission; and help the United Nations to prepare for its mission.
It is also factually wrong to suggest that the European Union has remained silent on the human rights abuses in Darfur. The European Union has repeatedly spoken out against them.
More importantly, these are not just words. The EU applies an arms embargo to Sudan, and the EU ministers have also stressed support for targeted sanctions against those blocking the peace process, committing human rights violations or violating the cease- fire and the arms embargo.
Jacobson asks if there is truly "a new Europe." I would draw his attention to the 12 crisis-management operations that the EU is conducting worldwide.
Of course we should always see if we can do more. But the empirical record backs up the assertion that the European Union is fully engaged to promote peace and protect the vulnerable.