U.S. policy on Sudan - Remarks by Clinton, Rice, Gration
Sudan Updates: Remarks on the Sudan Strategy
Mon, 19 Oct 2009
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Scott Gration, Special Envoy to Sudan
Washington, DC, October 19, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. Good morning. Well, I’m very pleased to be joined today by our Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan General Scott Gration. And let me begin by saying that the Sudan policy we are outlining today is the result of an intensive review across the United States Government that included the three of us, but many others as well. It reflects the Administration’s seriousness, sense of urgency, and collective agreement about how best to address the complex challenges that have prevented resolution of the crisis in Darfur and full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
President Obama and I have discussed this issue over many months and most recently over this past weekend. The fate of the Sudanese people is profoundly important to him, to me, to Ambassador Rice, to General Gration, and to our nation. Sudan is the largest country in Africa, one that has been torn by myriad religious, tribal, ethnic, racial, and political divisions for most of its half century of independence. During the past decade, genocide in Darfur and protracted violence and conflict between the North and South have claimed more than two million lives, subjected civilians to unspeakable atrocities, and led to mass human suffering.
While the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South in 2005 was a historic step forward, Sudan today is at a critical juncture – one that can lead to steady improvements in the lives of the Sudanese people or degenerate into more conflict and violence.
An unstable Sudan not only jeopardizes the future of the 40 million people there. It can also be an incubator of violence and instability in an already volatile region, it can provide a safe haven for international terrorists, and trigger another humanitarian catastrophe that Sudan, its neighbors, and the world cannot afford. All too often, efforts to bring peace and stability to Sudan have been undermined by factionalism, broken peace agreements and cease-fires, and the involvement of regional states affected by the crisis.
For these reasons and others, we are realistic about the hurdles to progress. Achieving peace and stability in Sudan will not be easy, nor is success guaranteed. But one thing is certain: The problems in Sudan cannot be ignored or willed away. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option. It is up to us, and our partners in the international community, to make a concerted and sustained effort to help bring lasting peace and stability to Sudan and avoid more of the conflict that has produced a vast sea of human misery and squandered the potential and security of a vital region of the world.
Now, my views on the genocide in Darfur are well known. I have been speaking out and acting on this issue for a number of years. And the President also has spoken out about the genocide that’s taking place in Darfur. But at this point, the focus must be on how we move forward, and on finding solutions. Even while the intensity of the violence has decreased since 2005, the people of Darfur continue to live in unconscionable and unacceptable conditions.
So our focus is on reversing the ongoing, dire human consequences of genocide by addressing the daily suffering in the refugee camps, protecting civilians from continuing violence, helping displaced persons return to their homes, ensuring that the militias are disarmed, and improving conditions on the ground so that the people of Darfur can finally live in peace and security.
Our strategy has three principal objectives: First, an end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, war crimes, and genocide in Darfur; second, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that results in a united and peaceful Sudan after 2011, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other; and third, a Sudan that does not provide a safe haven for terrorists.
In the past, the United States’s approach too often has focused narrowly on emerging crises. This is no longer the case. Our effort sets forth a comprehensive U.S. policy toward Sudan.
First, we view the crisis in Sudan as two-fold: The situation in Darfur remains unresolved after six years. And the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South will be a flashpoint for renewed conflict if not fully implemented through viable national elections, a referendum of self-determination for the South, resolution of border disputes, and the willingness of the respective parties to live up to their agreements. So we are approaching two key issues − Darfur and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement – simultaneously and in tandem.
Second, we are looking to achieve results through broad engagement and frank dialogue. But words alone are not enough.
Assessment of progress and decisions regarding incentives and disincentives will be based on verifiable changes in conditions on the ground. Backsliding by any party will be met with credible pressure in the form of disincentives leveraged by our government and our international partners.
Third, we will use our leadership globally to reconstitute, broaden, and strengthen the multilateral coalition that helped achieve the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and we will work equally hard to translate international concern about Darfur into genuine international commitments.
Let me be clear: It is too late for talk, or idle promises, or delays over misperceptions and misunderstandings.
This crisis is both a responsibility and an opportunity for the international community to help steer Sudan along a path that can lead to stability and security for the people of Sudan, the region, and the world. It is also a responsibility and opportunity for the Sudanese people and their leaders to demonstrate their commitment to taking concrete steps toward durable peace. Anything short of that will destine Sudan to failure.
As I said earlier, this review has involved discussions among many members of the Administration, Congress, and outside experts. Now I’d like to call on Ambassador Rice and General Gration, both of whom have worked so hard on this issue, to offer their comments. Ambassador Rice, let me turn it over to you first.
AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. It’s an honor to be with you and with General Gration for this important announcement.
I’d like to begin by expressing our appreciation to Scott for the exceptional commitment, energy, and integrity he’s brought to this critical work as Special Envoy for Sudan. And on a more personal note, though Scott and I have long been friends, I want to thank him especially for being the only man ever to testify before the Senate that he loves me. (Laughter.) He did. (Laughter.)
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: I cleared it with my wife. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Went through the clearance process. (Laughter.)
AMBASSADOR RICE: President Obama has repeatedly made clear that protecting civilians and forging lasting peace in Sudan is a top priority for his Administration. The President, like Secretary Clinton, has for many years been dedicated to ending the suffering and the genocide in Sudan. There was never any question that this deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Sudan would be backed by a thoughtful and results-oriented strategy. I’m personally proud of the strategy that has emerged. It is the product of extensive deliberation, careful consideration of very complex challenges, and a lot of hard work by all of us on this stage and many others.
Let me underscore two core objectives of U.S. policy. First, as the Secretary said, to end the genocide that’s taking place in Darfur and to forge lasting peace for all Darfuris. And second, to support full and effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and the South. To meet these twin goals, the United States is prepared to work with all sides. We will employ calibrated incentives as appropriate and exert real pressure as needed on any party that fails to act to improve the lives of the people of Sudan. There will be no rewards for the status quo, no incentives without concrete and tangible progress. There will be significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still. All parties will be held to account.
President Obama’s Sudan strategy is smart, tough, and balanced. It takes a clear view of history, which reminds us that for years, paths to peace have been littered with broken promises and unfulfilled commitments by the Government of Sudan. With both the lessons of the past and the opportunities of the future in mind, we embark on the challenging road ahead. Bringing about lasting peace and improving the lives of millions of people are daunting tasks. We understand the importance of effective and faithful implementation of our strategy, and we will use all elements of U.S. influence to transform our objectives into reality.
Let me conclude by underscoring this unrelenting truth. Too many lives have already been lost. Too many innocents have suffered immeasurably. Too much human dignity has been denied. Too much hatred has been sown. This painful reality drives the President’s commitment and our shared efforts to work to bring the Sudanese people the peace, security, and freedom they so deserve.
Thank you very much, and now, General Scott Gration.
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, Ambassador Rice, it’s really an honor to be able to share this podium with you this morning. Secretary Clinton’s words are so very true. The challenges in Sudan are complex and serious. Success will require a unified approach, a renewed sense of urgency. The President’s Sudan strategy provides that approach, that resolve.
The strategy is comprehensive and integrated. It’s focused on fully implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on achieving a broad and sustainable peace in Darfur. The strategy uses all elements of our nation’s influence – diplomacy, defense, development – to bring about a stability, a security, human rights, opportunities for a better future in Sudan. Our strategy aims to give the people of Sudan a country that is governed responsibly, justly, and democratically, a country that’s at peace with itself and with its neighbors. The United States Government is committed to creating an environment where the Sudanese people themselves can make positive changes for their future.
We’re acutely aware of the urgency of our task and the shortness of our timeline. We have only six months until Sudan’s national elections take place. The referendum on self-determination is only 15 months away. Success requires frank dialogue with all parties in Sudan, with the regional states and international community. We all must work together to get tangible results on the ground, to achieve a lasting peace, a better life for future generations of Sudanese. And we must not stop until our task is complete. The tragedies of Darfur, past and present, the threat of new violence in the South and North call for immediate action.
The people of Sudan have suffered terribly from the pain and loss that conflict brings, and millions continue to suffer today. It is for these people that we strive to produce verifiable progress on the ground. It’s for them that we’ll endeavor to generate positive change that they can experience. We have no option but to succeed. Working together, I believe we will. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you, Scott and thank you, Susan, and the three of us would be willing and welcoming of your questions.
MR. CROWLEY: Jill.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, can you tell us, ultimately, what are these calibrated incentives and the real pressure that you can exert? And also could I ask, on Mr. Karzai, the word now is that he is refusing a runoff, there might be a prospect of the coalition government. What is the latest that you are hearing from him? And how is this going to affect this very important timing in moving forward on these election results?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, with respect to the second question, I would like to get back to you on that. We really would hope to stay focused on Sudan, because this is such an important issue for so many people, and literally millions of people are kind of waiting to hear what we have to say on it. But I will certainly get back to you. I spent a lot of time over the last several days, as you know, working on this and I’d like to bring you and others up to date on that.
But let me just say with respect to Sudan, we have a very clear measure of whether or not the changes we are pursuing are being implemented, and that is whether conditions on the ground are changing and improving. We have a menu of incentives and disincentives, political and economic, that we will be looking to, to either further progress or to create a clear message that the progress we expect is not occurring. But we want to be somewhat careful in putting those out. They are part, in fact, of a classified annex to our strategy that we’re announcing the outline of today.
But suffice it to say, and let me underscore, that both incentives and disincentives based on changes in conditions are what we intend to employ going forward.
MR. CROWLEY: Mary Beth.
QUESTION: Thank you. Good morning, Secretary Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.
QUESTION: When President Obama was a candidate, he talked about imposing additional sanctions on Sudan to try to get them to move forward, and also discussed a no-fly zone. I’m wondering what has happened to those ideas that he put forth very forcefully.
And a second question, if I could, for General Gration. You’ve talked about the genocide as essentially being over. You’ve suggested taking Sudan off the terrorism list. I’m wondering, did you sort of lose out in this debate that’s occurred on Sudan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we don’t see winners and losers in this debate. We see collective agreement among many people with long and broad experience and concern about Sudan. And I’m very proud to be standing here with two of the principal architects of the strategy that we are rolling out today. So I think that – I know it’s kind of the typical sort of Washington back and forth, but I want to underscore how strongly we adhere to this new strategy. And the President, the principals, the deputies, all of the interagency process that hashed out this approach are fully on board in our going forward to implement it, and fully confident and supportive of Scott Gration’s work.
I think too that the sanctions issue is certainly part of our strategy. And I believe that the President’s commitment to sanctions as one of the tools that we have to employ in dealing with the leadership in Sudan is as important to our overall strategy today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We want to take a hard look at these sanctions to make sure they are producing the kind of changes in conditions that we’re looking for. But it is a tool, and it’s a tool that we have employed and we will continue to employ.
Scott, do you want to respond?
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Sure. I just want to make sure everybody knows that I fully support this strategy, the comments that the Secretary and that Ambassador Rice have said. I will work diligently to implement the policies of this strategy. And we really have no option; people in Darfur continue to live in conditions that are dire and unacceptable. We must work every day to change those conditions on the ground. That’s what we’re committed to, that’s what the people deserve, and that’s what I will do.
MR. CROWLEY: Andy.
QUESTION: Yeah. Secretary Clinton, you mentioned that you’re – you will be judging this policy based on your assessment of whether or not things are changing on the ground. I’m wondering if you can give us a sense of how you’re going to make that judgment. On what information are you going to rely? The Ambassador spoke about backsliding and obfuscation on the part of the Khartoum Government in the past. How are we going to feel confident that we’re getting the right information going forward on what actually is happening on the ground?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well – and I’ll let Susan add to this – but that’s why we are focused on outcomes and verifiable changes. There have been, as you rightly point out, lots of promises made, there have been white papers, there have been commissions. There have been all kinds of promises and agreements that have not been fulfilled. We’re looking past that. This is going to be a very results-oriented analysis that we’re engaged in. And there’s a lot of ways of measuring that.
And one of the reasons why Scott is spending so much time both in Sudan and the region is to enlist our international partners in helping us to measure the kind of progress that we all hope to see. The urgency, as he pointed out, is acute. The elections are coming up. The referendum is coming up. And there are many aspects of how we try to secure a credible, legitimate election, how we try to help the Sudanese, both South and North, prepare for the referendum.
In Darfur, we are looking to help unite a lot of the disparate groups so that there can be a stronger voice on the ground about what’s needed. Scott helped to negotiate a return of NGOs to help alleviate the suffering in the camps. I mean, there’s many different factors that have to be taken into account, but we’re way beyond just taking anybody at their word or their stated commitment. We want to see results that we can point to.
Susan, do you want to add?
AMBASSADOR RICE: I would just add that we have many different sources of information, more so than in the past. Obviously, we have a substantial American presence throughout Sudan. Other partners have a presence as well. We now have two substantial United Nations forces on the ground that do a lot of observation and reporting and monitoring on violations, and so we received that information as well through the Security Council and other channels. And the human rights – the High Commissioner for Human Rights also has a person that will remain in the position of reporting on what occurs on the ground.
So we have many sources. We’re in contact with all the parties. And I have every confidence that our challenge will not be lack of information.- - -
QUESTION: Yes. Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Rice, and Envoy Gration, all of you have mentioned that too many people have been suffering. And I think the sentence applied to nearly five million people living in the refugee camps. And I will get you back to a comment Secretary Powell one day said here, that the only thing these people need is to be sent home, and they know how to take care of themself.
It’s been more than five years now. The situation is dire. New kids are born there, no school, no healthcare. They all are divided and it’s very difficult to unite them as we are following your effort, Special Envoy Gration. And also the government in Sudan hasn’t produced any solution to this.
Don’t you think there is a sense of urgency to get these people back and secure their villages, and to get them back to their villages? And then, you wait to see when the political settlement will come to this, as we all – we don’t know when that will happen.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, certainly, we are well aware of the difficulty of our goals here to work on behalf of the people of Sudan for a better future, peace, and stability. And that is one of the reasons why this strategy clearly integrates our approach to Darfur and our approach on the North-South. These are two critically important aspects of the overall challenge that Sudan faces and they can’t be treated separate from one another. They have to be treated in this integrated approach that we are advocating. And we are, of course, doing all we can in our strategic approach to empower the people of Sudan to solve their own problems. That’s what the election is about, that’s what the referendum is about. But we are conscious of how difficult this will be. We don’t expect quick or easy solutions to these quite complex problems. But we are working to try to create the conditions on the ground that will lead to both better lives for individual Sudanese, but also a potential environment in which a political settlement of all of these various problems could be achieved.
Scott, do you want to add to that?
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Sure. Security is the number one issue that we are facing that’s keeping people from going back. And we support the efforts of the Chad Government and the Sudanese Government to end the tensions on the border and to stop that proxy war. We’re working very closely with UNAMID to ensure that it gets the forces and the capability that it needs, and they can provide some security. We’re also working with local forces to increase local security with the people of the camps themselves to try to improve security.
But we believe that we have to reach a position where the people can voluntarily return with their dignity and human rights, and live in security and stability. And until those conditions are met, we cannot have them go back. And so that’s what we’re trying to achieve. That’s what we’re working for in our efforts.
MR. CROWLEY: We have time for one more question. Charlie.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, can you talk about international contacts that have already been made? And specifically, have you – how much have the Chinese signaled a willingness to help or not? And secondly, can you talk about any new monies that you’re going to commit to this? Are you going to do this with whatever presently is there?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, I’ll have both Susan and Scott add to this. We have had intensive international outreach, both Susan at the UN, Scott in numerous meetings around the world, including one that he convened here in Washington, bringing together the international partners who have either already been involved or we wish to see more involved. During our meetings with the Chinese back in July, I raised it directly, seeking more support and a partnership that would result in some additional opportunities for us to influence the Sudanese Government.
So I’m going to ask Scott first to talk about what he’s been doing, because it’s extensive, and I’m not sure everybody knows, and then Susan to have the final word on the UN.
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Thank you. We’ve worked in several venues to get international cooperation. We’ve put together a group, what we call the Envoy 6, and they include the envoys from the P-5 countries, plus the EU, and we meet regularly and exchange emails and VTCs. And that group has been very important. China and Russia, obviously, are part of that. And we continue to reach out to them on a consistent basis.
We also have a group called the contact group. It grew out of the donors. And we continue to meet with them not only to get the donations, but also to help us with policy and implementation issues. As you know, that – during the Nevasha discussions in 2005, the troika made up of the UK and Norway were very helpful. We’ve reconvened that group to help us not only with the implementation of the CPA, but also to help us as we work these negotiations on the sticky points like the census, the elections, and referendum.
So there’s a whole large group that includes EGAD countries, that includes neighbors, and it includes an international community that’s working very well together.
QUESTION: Well, I don’t doubt the willingness in the meetings, but how positive have the Chinese especially been in signaling a willingness to do what you want to do?
SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: The Chinese have been very helpful. If you look at their objectives in the region, they require stability and security. And so there’s a great overlap. And while we might have differences in some of the tactical issues, certainly strategically, we have the same goals. We’re working very closely together and the Chinese have been very helpful in providing influence and pressures not only to work the Darfur issue with the proxy war, but also working in the South.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Susan? Final word?
AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you. I would just add that at the United Nations, we look at the situation in Darfur. And between the North and South, on a very regular basis, this is an issue that’s constantly almost every month on the Security Council agenda. We are now in a position where there’s a substantial presence on the ground of some close to 10,000 each of Darfur and the South. And that presence is very much engaged in the implementation of the very objectives that support the policy we outlined today.
So while we do differ on occasion with partners in the Security Council about tactics and the relative timing and nature of pressures versus incentives, this is something we will continue to work on with them. And as we pursue implementation of our strategy, obviously, the good work that Scott has done and continues to do to keep our partners with us is very important, and we will see it manifest in the United Nations.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.
QUESTION: Is this new money, any new money here or --
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t know the answer to that, so I – let me get back to you, Charlie. I mean, I want to make sure that we don’t misstate things.
AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you all.
# # #
Copy of second email received today from U.S. State Department:
Sudan Updates: Background Briefing on Sudan
Mon, 19 Oct 2009 13:51:49 -0500
Senior Administration Officials
October 19, 2009
MR. CROWLEY: We’re now going to shift from on the record to on background, where we have anywhere from two to four experts who will try to help fill in some of the blanks. [Senior Administration Official], you want to come up, [Senior Administration Official], you want to come up? [Senior Administration Official], you’re going to stay?
Yeah, this is a background briefing attributable to Senior Administration Officials. So you just know who’s in the room, we have [Senior Administration Officials]. So [Senior Administration Officials], you want to come up and get started?
QUESTION: Shouldn’t the experts start by answering the question on money if they know? (Laughter.)
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Yeah. They’re – as you probably are aware, the United States has been one of the largest contributors to the humanitarian effort – relief effort in Darfur and will continue to be a substantial contributor to that program. We are also one of the largest contributors to the UN peacekeeping force.
At this point, there is no additional money allocated for this effort, but we expect that we will continue to be the largest single contributor to the humanitarian peace – the humanitarian effort in Darfur, and also a significant contributor to the peacekeeping efforts.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: I would just add that there’s no question that resources will continue to be needed as they have been, and the U.S. spends over $2 billion in FY 2009, all told, for all of the Sudan portion. And there will be some shifting around, particularly when one considers the needs of Southern Sudan. So the only thing I wanted to add is that there are a number of assessments underway right now that can help give us a sense of sort of the universe of what will need to be done in the short and medium term at various aspects of the Sudan problem before us. And so those assessments will certainly help to guide our plans regarding resources.
MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, I would like to understand what kind of relationship there will be in the coming few months with President Bashir, who is already indicted and accused of genocide.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We have no intention of working with – directly with President Bashir. We firmly believe that he should get himself a good lawyer, present himself to the ICC, and face the charges that have been leveled against him. But equally, we think that it is important to engage with interlocutors within the Sudanese Government in order to resolve the issues that continue to exist both in Darfur and in the North – the implementation of the North-South agreement.
QUESTION: Just to get this right, you said you have no intentions of working with General Bashir; is that right? That’s the position of the State Department, then?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I didn’t hear the --
QUESTION: Working directly with General Bashir.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: No intention.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, correct.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton made reference that the incentives and the disincentives are part of a classified annex of this plan. So I guess that means you can’t elaborate on what those incentives and disincentives are. And therefore, I don’t really see anything new here in terms of the policy. What is new? What are you announcing today that is new?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Well, I think there are a number of things that are new. First, the very clear elevation of full implementation of the CPA. So I think that it’s fair to say that for quite some time, policy has been understandably focused on urgent crisis in Darfur, and CPA implementation fell behind, and you can see this in the timelines in the CPA itself that were not met, so fundamentally, this idea that we’re moving forward on these two critical tracks simultaneously.
Another thing that’s new is that we’re dealing with a different timeline in this Administration, right. We’re moving up to 2011 and the referendum in Southern Sudan. So there are a set of fundamentally different dynamics that have to be addressed in a very short period of time. In terms of the U.S. approach that – another element that is new and extremely explicit within the strategy is what the Secretary talked about, which is looking critically at conditions on the ground. And in the annex, there are a number of sort of benchmarks we’re going to be looking at to make our assessments about whether or not we’re achieving progress or seeing backsliding or failure to move toward these different objectives.
So we have a sort of more rigorous way of assessing where we’re going. In part because the timeline is so short and urgency’s so great, we need clear standards to know how to guide our policy. So those are a range of things that are new. Yes, it’s true that the incentives and disincentives are classified in the annex, but the Secretary’s quite right; they encompass a range of diplomatic, economic, and other possibilities, many of which have been discussed through the public sphere before and have – the things that have been discussed, you’re all familiar with.
QUESTION: But can I just follow up? Why was the decision made to keep it classified and presumably just, I guess, convey it to the Sudanese Government privately?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: We don’t think it’s in the interest of the success of the policy to lay it all out at this time. But one of the things that this process was concerned with, and people spent a lot of time on, was ensuring that the leverage that we have, both positive and increased pressure, is real. And so we’re not going to get into the position of issuing threats that aren’t – ultimately aren’t sort of true and viable. So we feel confident that what we have in the classified annex as quite serious; it does involve all elements of national power, and we think that it’s conducive to the success of the strategy for us to keep that in that annex at this time.
QUESTION: Can I ask – and then if we can’t talk about the pressures and incentives specifically, can you talk at least a little bit about what specific results you hope to see within the next six months before the election? I mean, are you looking for more humanitarian groups to be allowed in? Are you looking for a certain number of people to have their lives changed in some way? I mean, can you tell us what measures you’re looking at?
And then second, you said that you won’t be dealing directly with President Bashir, but with other interlocutors. Could you tell us a little bit about what kinds of interlocutors? Who are we talking about?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Maybe just a few points on the – what are we looking for. The kinds of things we’re looking for are reduced tensions between Chad and Sudan, for example, improved security on the ground in Darfur, end of aerial bombardment and security operations. A ceasefire, ultimately, is what we’re looking for in Darfur, and full engagement of the government with the rebels in Doha and a proposal that the rebels can respond to.
For North-South, we’re looking at the referendum law, which we need to see that very soon, very urgently. We’re looking for final preparations for the elections so it can be free, fair, and credible. And we’re looking for other milestones that are critical to full implementation of the CPA, including the boundary – finalizing the boundary area, demarcation and delimitation, so it can be finalized.
And so there’s benchmarks both in Darfur and in the CPA that need to be moved on urgently, as both Secretary Clinton and Special Envoy Gration commented on.
QUESTION: So what about the interlocutors? Who are you going to be dealing with then in Sudan?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, just to make one point. Currently, General Gration’s involved with presidential advisor Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin, and he is the current interlocutor for General Gration. He’s also meeting, however, with Vice President Taha or other members of the NCP administration, as necessary. But similarly, he is working with President Kiir, obviously, in the South and full members of the SPLM administration. We’re trying also to engage the government together within the confines of the government of national unity. And so we’re working with many players in the government and many international players, obviously. There’s chief mediator Jibril Basoli, who is in charge of bringing peace to Darfur, as mandated by the African Union and the United Nations. We’re meeting with, obviously, President Deby, who is very important in the peace process to lower tensions between Chad and Sudan. We’re also meeting with Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, and other members of IGAD as well. In fact, there’s not many people we’re not meeting with. The special envoy has traveled to China. He’s been to Beijing. He’s been to Moscow recently. Frequent trips to Doha, where the peace process is.
So it’s a very inclusive process. It’s a very intensive process of meeting officials in Sudan, in the region, and internationally.
QUESTION: Can you expand upon Secretary Clinton’s third goal – creating a – that Sudan is less of a terrorism safe haven? And how do you balance that with the first two goals that she outlined, as far as the policy is concerned?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Okay. So the point I would just make on that is I think it’s clear what we mean, the importance of ensuring that Sudan is not a safe haven for terrorists. But it is quite explicit in our policy that no -- none of the objectives will be sacrificed for the other. So just to make quite plain, there’s no possibility that you move forward on goal three and the U.S. delivers a bunch of incentives when there isn’t progress on these other fronts. We don’t see that as achieving our interests at all, and it’s quite explicit in the strategy that that wouldn't happen.
QUESTION: Hi, Kim Ghattas from the BBC. I’m still a little bit puzzled about how this strategy is going to work if the man who’s at the center of everything, Omar Bashir, is not somebody you’re going to engage with. I’m not saying that you should absolve him, but is he really going to cooperate and allow his government to cooperate on these efforts if he’s still facing an indictment in the ICC?
And also, I don’t know if I missed something, but I’m still unclear about what is in the annex. And I understand you don’t want to make it public because it might jeopardize the success of the policy, but does the Government of Sudan know what they might get or what they might not get, if they don’t cooperate with you?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I think it’s possible to conduct successful negotiations with the Government of Sudan without, in fact, engaging directly with President Bashir. I think that [Senior Administration Official Three] has outlined clearly a number of people inside the government at high levels with whom we are dealing on a regular and frequent basis. So I think it is possible to move forward with progress and with success without engaging the president of the country.
On your second issue, the Sudanese Government clearly knows what we want. They have a clear idea of our policy and our policy objectives. They know what we want from them, and we have a clear idea of what they want from us. And I think on the basis of that, we can in fact, talk fairly specifically with them about the issues.
MR. CROWLEY: Sir.
MR. CROWLEY: I’m sorry, go ahead.
QUESTION: What do you want from the Sudanese Government to do?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I think we just – I think [Senior Administration Official Three] just indicated clearly what we want.
QUESTION: Yeah. Several steps to show cooperation with the United States and with the international community.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I think that [Senior Administration Official Three] just clearly stated what those things were. We want to see the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We want to see the resolution of issues related to the census. We want to see national elections occur. And we want the referenda to move forward in accordance with the CPA, which allows the people of the South to determine whether they want to remain a part of Sudan or whether they want their independence. We want to see the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was negotiated in January – completed in January of ’05 implemented.
On the – in the case of Darfur, broadly speaking, we want to see an end to the humanitarian suffering, and we want an end to the political crisis there, which has divided the groups inside of Darfur amongst themselves, as well as with the government in Khartoum. But we have been fairly clear in what we are seeking in both resolution of the North-South issue as well as in Darfur.
MR. CROWLEY: Kirit.
QUESTION: Can I just ask about the rhetorical shift? The Secretary referred to this again as ongoing genocide, and there’s been a debate between the Administration about that. How does that square with your efforts now in this new policy to kind of dial back rhetoric to engage the government a little bit more? Can you explain that, please?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think it’s important to – there is no question about the commitment of the Secretary to end the humanitarian crisis that has occurred in Darfur, and to deal with the issues that are on the ground. But we feel that the best way to do this is through active diplomacy. Let us move ahead, deal with the issues of negotiating and end to the humanitarian problems in Darfur, an end to the fighting, to the political conflict, the instability, and the conditions that give rise to the humanitarian suffering that we’ve seen there since 2003. We’re interested in moving ahead in engaging in the diplomacy and the negotiations that are required to ensure that we can bring a total end to the problems that have existed in the region.
QUESTION: Several things. Over the last five, six years, there have been various NGOs such as, say, Darfur Coalition, Africa Action, and numerous people here in Washington as well as, I would assume, in England and elsewhere, that have actually gone to Sudan. One is Jerry Fowler, another has worked both at the White House and I suppose over here, Gayle Smith, John Prendergast and others, such as celebrities as Mia Farrow and, of course, George Clooney. (Laughter.)
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Is there a question there?
QUESTION: The question is – they’ve highlighted this. It’s been in the news. Now, you mentioned elections in the next six months. Do you want to see the same rubber stamping of elements that the present government brought into a new government? Are there such entities that you wouldn’t want to see? And also, the Russians and Chinese, they’ve been shipping arms. Do you want to see an end to those arms shipments?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: It’s up to the people of Sudan to select their leaders, both in the North and the South. What we do want to see is an election process that is open, transparent, free, and fair, in which people have a right to vote and vote for their individual leaders. So we’re not in the business of selecting leaders.
With respect to the arms embargo, there is an arms embargo against the Khartoum government, and we would like to see that arms embargo continued and fully implemented by everyone who signed on to it.
MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead.
QUESTION: If you don’t mind, just minutes ago, President Obama issued a statement on this. And I’m quoting from the email of the White House saying that if the Government of Sudan acts to improve the situation on the ground and to advance peace, there will be incentives. If it does not, then there will be increased pressure imposed by the United States and the international community. I mean, is this the kind of things that we should be expecting that will be applying on all parties, and can we have more on that?
MR. CROWLEY: We’ve had that question in three different forms already. We’ve gone as far as we can go on that.
QUESTION: Coming back to the question of the interlocutors, and it’s a little bit more complex than just not dealing with an indicted president, for example. And it also raises the issue of keeping balance between the three foci of this policy. I mean, for example, Ghazi Salahuddin has been, and may still be, on the list related to terrorism. There are other people in the Sudan Government that have been named in conjunction with terrorism and other problems. So how do you find this balance, and how do you keep the process going without compromising parts of it?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: Well, I would just say that, you know, we can’t have the kind of frank dialogue with the Government of Sudan that we need to have if we were to sort of choose for ourselves only the individuals who we feel best about dealing with. The situation is way too urgent to not proceed with completely frank dialogue about exactly what needs to happen to move forward.
But I would say that we do not lack for information about – as the Secretary said, as Ambassador Rice said, about the status of any of the objectives and where we stand on them. And so I don’t think that we’re going to find ourselves confused about who is standing in the way of achieving these objectives and who is not.
QUESTION: I have one specific question, and I’m sorry if this came up earlier. But you mentioned on terrorism before that you wouldn’t give any incentives if they just move on that and not on other issues. But there’s one big thing is the terrorism list. And General Gration had suggested that that might be something – an area that can change. And I wonder if you – if that depends on Darfur and South Sudan, or is it just a purely – a pure decision based on if they’re cooperating on terrorism.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: We have to see significant, tangible, concrete progress across the board. It is not a quid pro quo for completion in one area. We have to see progress in all three areas for that to occur.
MR. CROWLEY: Thank you very much.