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Bolton: Arria Style Meeting of the UNSC On Darfur

Remarks at the Arria Style Meeting of the Security Council on Darfur

Ambassador John R. Bolton, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

New York City
September 14, 2006

Ambassador Bolton, George Clooney and others at Security Council Meeting on Darfur, New York City, Sept. 14, 2006 I would like to thank all of you for joining us today for this arria style meeting of the Security Council to discuss the ongoing tragedy of Darfur. We are glad to have two special guests join us today for this meeting.

Neither of the gentlemen seated next to me require an introduction, but allow me a moment to highlight why it is important that they join us. Professor Elie Wiesel has received numerous awards for human rights activities. He has warned the international community against the perils of indifference when confronted by genocide, and has become a tireless advocate for action to end the tragedy in Sudan.

We are also joined today by Mr. George Clooney. We had the good fortune of being seated at the same table during the White House Correspondents' Dinner this year. In our conversation, I learned about his trip to Darfur. I was glad to hear that he -- like Prof. Wiesel -- understands the urgency of action in the region, and also the difficulty of policy makers and activists when confronted by those who develop a kind of "tragedy fatigue." Suffering can be difficult to look at, and after a while some people simply don't want to see it.

Out of that conversation, we both hoped that we could have an opportunity such as this one to continue the Security Council dialogue on Darfur. As you know, the United States has been focused on the suffering in Darfur since the genocide began there in 2004.

When Prof. Wiesel approached us and asked us how he could put his work and that of his foundation to help end the conflict, we invited Prof. Wiesel and Mr. Clooney to the Security Council. With their help, we hope to increase awareness of the tragedy unfolding in Darfur. Every day that passes, more innocent men, women and children suffer in Darfur. Every day, women and young girls are raped as they venture from refugee camps to find firewood.

This problem cannot be dismissed as too complex to address. I am pleased to say that as a Security Council, we have worked to bring relief to Darfur through the adoption of a resolution to transfer the African Union mandate to a UN peacekeeping mission. This resolution must be implemented. Yet even with this step -- how much worse does the situation need to get before the Government of National Unity agrees to help end the suffering of its own people?

We hope that today's discussion will help to amplify the importance of taking concrete action in conversations at the UN and outside this forum. With the help of advocates like Prof. Wiesel and Mr. Clooney, we hope to increase attention on the growing problem in Darfur. I'd like to start by inviting Mr. Clooney to make some remarks, and then I will turn to Professor Wiesel.

Released on September 14, 2006


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