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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 2, 2006

President Meets with Andrew Natsios, Special Envoy for Sudan
Oval Office

President's Remarks

      In Focus: Africa

9:50 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Recently I named my friend, Andrew Natsios, to be the Presidential Special Envoy to Sudan to help us deal with the issue in Darfur. The reason I named Andrew is, one, he knows the area well, he's been involved in this area for a long period of time. Secondly, he, like me, shares a deep concern about the suffering in Darfur.

We believe the world has a responsibility to respond to what this government has called genocide. And Andrew Natsios is going to help rally the world to solve the problem. The United Nations can play an important role in helping us achieve our objective, which is to end human suffering and deprivation. In my view, the United Nations should not wait any longer to approve a blue helmeted force, a U.N. force of peacekeepers to protect the innocent people.

And Andrew knows my opinion and knows my beliefs. And I appreciate him very much implementing the strategy that our government will develop to save lives. And I thank you for your efforts again, and thank you for your commitment.

MR. NATSIOS: Thank you. I've been going to Sudan now for 17 years, I know leaders in all regions of the country and I'm going to use those contacts and that history to move this process along. I have a great affection, personally, for the Sudanese people, north and south. My first trip to Darfur was 17 years ago, during the first Darfur war -- this is the third war in Darfur, in 17 years.

And I think what our objective is, is not just to have a temporary fix for two months, but to try to deal with the root causes of this so we don't have another fourth war in five years, should we end this one successfully.

So I'm going to work on that. I think with the President's strong support, both of us are committed to this, and we're going to see what we can do.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Andrew. Appreciate it.

MR. NATSIOS: Thank you.

END 9:52 A.M. EDT

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