For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2001
President Appoints Danforth as Special Envoy to the Sudan
Remarks by the President and Senator John Danforth on Danforth's Appointment as Special Envoy to the Sudan
The Rose Garden
View the President's Remarks
Listen to the President's Remarks
THE PRESIDENT: I'm pleased to announce today my appointment of John Danforth of Missouri as America's envoy for peace in the Sudan. It's my honor to welcome the former United States Senator, his wife Sally, and distinguished guests here to the Rose Garden for this important announcement.
I am under no illusions: Jack Danforth has taken on an incredibly difficult assignment. The degree of difficulty is high. But this is an issue that is really important. It is important to this administration, it's important to the world, to bring some sanity to the Sudan.
I'm honored to be on the stage with our Secretary of State, who is doing a fabulous job for America. When he speaks, the world listens. And when he speaks on this subject, the world will listen.
I'm honored to welcome members of the United States Congress who have taken this issue very seriously. Thank you all for coming. And I want to thank members of the diplomatic corps who are here as well.
For nearly two decades, the government of Sudan has waged a brutal and shameful war against its own people. And this isn't right, and this must stop. The government has targeted civilians for violence and terror. It permits and encourages slavery. And the responsibility to end the war is on their shoulders. They must now seek the peace, and we want to help.
Today, the tragedy in Sudan commands the attention and compassion of the world. For our part, we're committed to pursuing a just peace, which will spare that land from more years of sorrow.
We're committed to bringing stability to the Sudan, so that many loving Americans, non-governmental organizations, will be able to perform their duties of love and compassion within that country without fear of reprisal.
Recently, I appointed a humanitarian envoy, Andrew Natsios, the administrator of USAID, to address the material needs. Today I take a step further. By naming a distinguished American, a former United States Senator and ordained minister, a man of enormous respect, the United States will continue to signal to the rest of the world our interest in this subject, our desire to bring governments together to achieve a lasting peace.
I will repeat what I told Jack in the Oval Office: our administration is deeply committed -- is deeply committed -- to bringing good folks together, from within our country and the leadership of other nations, to get this issue solved once and for all. It's a test of the compassion of the world.
As I said, the degree of difficulty is high. Jack Danforth brings a realistic assessment to what is possible. But he also brings a big heart, and enormous amounts of energy, and a great commitment. And so it is my honor to bring a good man back into government, to take on a difficult yet important assignment.
Please welcome John Danforth. (Applause.)
SENATOR DANFORTH: Thank you. Mr. President, thank you very much.
The civil war in Sudan has lasted at least 18 years, and it has caused immense human misery -- the death of two million people, bombing and displacement of civilians, trading in human beings as slaves. In appointing me special envoy, President Bush has asked me to determine if there is anything useful the U.S. can do to help end the misery in Sudan, in addition to what we are already doing on the humanitarian side. Even to ask that question is a powerful statement by the President of the values of our country.
In the past few weeks, I have asked experts on Sudan their views on whether the United States can play a useful role in bringing about peace. Some have frankly told me that the answer is no. Others have been more hopeful. I believe, as does the President, that if there is even the chance that we can help the peace process, we should seriously explore the possibility that America can do so.
While I accept this job with no expertise on Sudan, and I look forward to working with a number of people here today to get their views on the situation, I do have some thoughts that I would like to share with you. First, the possibility of peace depends on the will of combatants, not on the actions of even the best-intentioned outsiders, including the United States. Perhaps America can encourage peace; we cannot cause it.
Second, the will of combatants to have peace will be gauged not by their words, but by their actions. Third, the job of a special envoy is to further peace. I am prepared to deal constructively with both sides of the conflict, the government of Sudan and the SPLA. Fourth, the effectiveness of America's efforts for peace in Sudan will depend on our communication and cooperation with other interested countries, including the European Union and countries neighboring Sudan, especially Egypt and Kenya.
And finally -- and this is very important -- I am not a one-man band, or an independent contractor. In matters of foreign policy, America should speak with one voice. A special envoy is not a separate entity. He should support the normal diplomatic enterprise of the United States, and not supplant it.
Mr. President, thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 10:40 A.M. EST