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Bolton Briefing Humanitarian Situation in Africa

Statement at the Open Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Africa

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

New York City
September 15, 2006

USUN PRESS RELEASE #231

Mr. President,


I would like to thank Under Secretary Egeland for his informative briefing on the current state of humanitarian affairs across the African continent, and in particular on his recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Uganda, and southern Sudan. We are grateful to Mr. Egeland for taking on this timely mission.

Let me say at the outset that the United States is encouraged by what appear to be some positive developments in resolving some of the longstanding humanitarian problems in Africa. For example, we would note that the return of refugees and displaced persons in Angola and Liberia is nearly complete and that this process is also underway in Burundi, the DRC, and southern Sudan.

We also share Mr. Egeland's cautious optimism about the situation in northern Uganda and the DRC. We recognize that support for peace and reconciliation efforts as well as support for the basic recovery of social and economic infrastructure in all of these post-conflict situations will be critical to sustainable resolution of these protracted crises,. We would add our hope that external financial support for these countries' recovery is shared more broadly by a wider donor community since we all benefit from the peace and security that should result.

The United States is encouraged by the ongoing negotiations between the Government of Uganda and the LRA, and we are monitoring the results with interest. We urge both parties to continue to work towards a viable cease-fire. In this regard, it is important that the 2007 UN Strategy and Consolidated Action Plan (CAP) address internally displaced person returns in Uganda, as well as assistance to IDP camps. While IDPs may well continue to move between camps and their lands for some time, it is important to start laying a foundation for returns now.

The United States however is gravely concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur, including the possible new flows of refugees to Chad, and weak implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. We must find a way to help reach a cessation of hostilities in Darfur, to help provide security for the civilians there, and to support a process of dialogue rather than use of arms. We look forward to the outcome of next week's meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council and reiterate our call on the Government of Sudan to welcome deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.

We regret the recent deaths of humanitarian workers in Darfur. We join others in underscoring the need to support individuals working in some of the most difficult areas of the world for the benefit of those in need.

Released on September 15, 2006

ENDS


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