For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 31, 2006
President Bush Discusses Sudan with Special Envoy and Makes Remarks on North Korea
The Oval Office
In Focus: Africa
9:26 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: I just had a meeting with the presidential Special Envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios. I asked Andrew to serve our country and really serve the cause of humanity by taking on this important assignment. He's working very closely with Secretary Rice. He brought -- he was just there for 10 days, he came back with a grim report about the human condition of a lot of people who suffer. And, you know, Andrew -- the good thing about Andrew is -- one thing, he puts a report out there, but he also understands we've got to do something about it.
And the United States is going to work with the international community to come up with a single plan on how to address this issue and save lives. And Andrew is going to work with other partners in peace, and they'll take that plan to the current government of Sudan.
One element of the plan is something that I strongly supported all along, and that there needs to be a credible and effective international force to go into Darfur to save lives, to make it clear that the international community respects human life, and the international community will work in concert to save human life.
Andrew, I want to thank you for taking on this assignment. The situation in Darfur is on our minds. The people who have suffered there need to know that the United States will work with others to help solve the problem. And the government of Sudan must understand that we're serious -- when you deliver a message to them, on behalf of our government, that we're earnest and serious about their necessity to step up and work with the international community. So thank you, Andrew, for that.
Today, as well, we have news out of the Far East. There is an agreement to restart the six-party talks concerning North Korea. I'm pleased, and I want to thank the Chinese for encouraging the meeting that got the agreement to get the six-party talks restarted. I've always felt like it is important for the United States to be at the table with other partners when it comes time to addressing this important issue.
And so I thank not only the Chinese, but the South Koreans, the Japanese, and the Russians for agreeing to come back to the table with North Korea. We'll be sending teams to the region to work with our partners to make sure that the current United Nations Security Council resolution is enforced, but also to make sure that the talks are effective; that we achieve the results we want, which is a North Korea that abandons their nuclear weapons programs, and her nuclear weapons, in a verifiable fashion in return for a better way forward for her people.
And so I'm very pleased with the progress being made in the Far East. Obviously, we've still got a lot of work to do. But I want to thank the Secretary for her good work when she went out to the region, and assure the American people we'll continue to work to resolve this in a peaceful way.
END 9:30 A.M. EST