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Clinton's Speech on the Sudan Strategy, October 2009

Speakers: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Scott Gration, and Susan E. Rice
Published October 19, 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave this speech on October 19, 2009. Scott Gration and Susan Rice provided additional remarks.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. Good morning. Well, Iím very pleased to be joined today by our Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and the Presidentís Special Envoy to Sudan General Scott Gration. And let me begin by saying that the Sudan policy we are outlining today is the result of an intensive review across the United States Government that included the three of us, but many others as well. It reflects the Administrationís seriousness, sense of urgency, and collective agreement about how best to address the complex challenges that have prevented resolution of the crisis in Darfur and full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

President Obama and I have discussed this issue over many months and most recently over this past weekend. The fate of the Sudanese people is profoundly important to him, to me, to Ambassador Rice, to General Gration, and to our nation. Sudan is the largest country in Africa, one that has been torn by myriad religious, tribal, ethnic, racial, and political divisions for most of its half century of independence. During the past decade, genocide in Darfur and protracted violence and conflict between the North and South have claimed more than two million lives, subjected civilians to unspeakable atrocities, and led to mass human suffering.

While the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South in 2005 was a historic step forward, Sudan today is at a critical juncture Ė one that can lead to steady improvements in the lives of the Sudanese people or degenerate into more conflict and violence.
An unstable Sudan not only jeopardizes the future of the 40 million people there. It can also be an incubator of violence and instability in an already volatile region, it can provide a safe haven for international terrorists, and trigger another humanitarian catastrophe that Sudan, its neighbors, and the world cannot afford. All too often, efforts to bring peace and stability to Sudan have been undermined by factionalism, broken peace agreements and cease-fires, and the involvement of regional states affected by the crisis.

For these reasons and others, we are realistic about the hurdles to progress. Achieving peace and stability in Sudan will not be easy, nor is success guaranteed. But one thing is certain: The problems in Sudan cannot be ignored or willed away. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option. It is up to us, and our partners in the international community, to make a concerted and sustained effort to help bring lasting peace and stability to Sudan and avoid more of the conflict that has produced a vast sea of human misery and squandered the potential and security of a vital region of the world.

Now, my views on the genocide in Darfur are well known. I have been speaking out and acting on this issue for a number of years. And the President also has spoken out about the genocide thatís taking place in Darfur. But at this point, the focus must be on how we move forward, and on finding solutions. Even while the intensity of the violence has decreased since 2005, the people of Darfur continue to live in unconscionable and unacceptable conditions.

So our focus is on reversing the ongoing, dire human consequences of genocide by addressing the daily suffering in the refugee camps, protecting civilians from continuing violence, helping displaced persons return to their homes, ensuring that the militias are disarmed, and improving conditions on the ground so that the people of Darfur can finally live in peace and security.

Our strategy has three principal objectives: First, an end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, war crimes, and genocide in Darfur; second, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that results in a united and peaceful Sudan after 2011, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other; and third, a Sudan that does not provide a safe haven for terrorists.

In the past, the United Statesís approach too often has focused narrowly on emerging crises. This is no longer the case. Our effort sets forth a comprehensive U.S. policy toward Sudan.
First, we view the crisis in Sudan as two-fold: The situation in Darfur remains unresolved after six years. And the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South will be a flashpoint for renewed conflict if not fully implemented through viable national elections, a referendum of self-determination for the South, resolution of border disputes, and the willingness of the respective parties to live up to their agreements. So we are approaching two key issues − Darfur and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement Ė simultaneously and in tandem.

Second, we are looking to achieve results through broad engagement and frank dialogue. But words alone are not enough. Assessment of progress and decisions regarding incentives and disincentives will be based on verifiable changes in conditions on the ground. Backsliding by any party will be met with credible pressure in the form of disincentives leveraged by our government and our international partners.

Third, we will use our leadership globally to reconstitute, broaden, and strengthen the multilateral coalition that helped achieve the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and we will work equally hard to translate international concern about Darfur into genuine international commitments.
Let me be clear: It is too late for talk, or idle promises, or delays over misperceptions and misunderstandings.

This crisis is both a responsibility and an opportunity for the international community to help steer Sudan along a path that can lead to stability and security for the people of Sudan, the region, and the world. It is also a responsibility and opportunity for the Sudanese people and their leaders to demonstrate their commitment to taking concrete steps toward durable peace. Anything short of that will destine Sudan to failure.

As I said earlier, this review has involved discussions among many members of the Administration, Congress, and outside experts. Now Iíd like to call on Ambassador Rice and General Gration, both of whom have worked so hard on this issue, to offer their comments. Ambassador Rice, let me turn it over to you first.

AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. Itís an honor to be with you and with General Gration for this important announcement.

Iíd like to begin by expressing our appreciation to Scott for the exceptional commitment, energy, and integrity heís brought to this critical work as Special Envoy for Sudan. And on a more personal note, though Scott and I have long been friends, I want to thank him especially for being the only man ever to testify before the Senate that he loves me. (Laughter.) He did. (Laughter.)

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: I cleared it with my wife. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Went through the clearance process. (Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR RICE: President Obama has repeatedly made clear that protecting civilians and forging lasting peace in Sudan is a top priority for his Administration. The President, like Secretary Clinton, has for many years been dedicated to ending the suffering and the genocide in Sudan. There was never any question that this deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Sudan would be backed by a thoughtful and results-oriented strategy. Iím personally proud of the strategy that has emerged. It is the product of extensive deliberation, careful consideration of very complex challenges, and a lot of hard work by all of us on this stage and many others.

Let me underscore two core objectives of U.S. policy. First, as the Secretary said, to end the genocide thatís taking place in Darfur and to forge lasting peace for all Darfuris. And second, to support full and effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and the South. To meet these twin goals, the United States is prepared to work with all sides. We will employ calibrated incentives as appropriate and exert real pressure as needed on any party that fails to act to improve the lives of the people of Sudan. There will be no rewards for the status quo, no incentives without concrete and tangible progress. There will be significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still. All parties will be held to account.

President Obamaís Sudan strategy is smart, tough, and balanced. It takes a clear view of history, which reminds us that for years, paths to peace have been littered with broken promises and unfulfilled commitments by the Government of Sudan. With both the lessons of the past and the opportunities of the future in mind, we embark on the challenging road ahead. Bringing about lasting peace and improving the lives of millions of people are daunting tasks. We understand the importance of effective and faithful implementation of our strategy, and we will use all elements of U.S. influence to transform our objectives into reality.

Let me conclude by underscoring this unrelenting truth. Too many lives have already been lost. Too many innocents have suffered immeasurably. Too much human dignity has been denied. Too much hatred has been sown. This painful reality drives the Presidentís commitment and our shared efforts to work to bring the Sudanese people the peace, security, and freedom they so deserve.

Thank you very much, and now, General Scott Gration.

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Thank you. Madame Secretary, Ambassador Rice, itís really an honor to be able to share this podium with you this morning. Secretary Clintonís words are so very true. The challenges in Sudan are complex and serious. Success will require a unified approach, a renewed sense of urgency. The Presidentís Sudan strategy provides that approach, that resolve.

The strategy is comprehensive and integrated. Itís focused on fully implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on achieving a broad and sustainable peace in Darfur. The strategy uses all elements of our nationís influence Ė diplomacy, defense, development Ė to bring about a stability, a security, human rights, opportunities for a better future in Sudan. Our strategy aims to give the people of Sudan a country that is governed responsibly, justly, and democratically, a country thatís at peace with itself and with its neighbors. The United States Government is committed to creating an environment where the Sudanese people themselves can make positive changes for their future.
Weíre acutely aware of the urgency of our task and the shortness of our timeline. We have only six months until Sudanís national elections take place. The referendum on self-determination is only 15 months away. Success requires frank dialogue with all parties in Sudan, with the regional states and international community. We all must work together to get tangible results on the ground, to achieve a lasting peace, a better life for future generations of Sudanese. And we must not stop until our task is complete. The tragedies of Darfur, past and present, the threat of new violence in the South and North call for immediate action.

The people of Sudan have suffered terribly from the pain and loss that conflict brings, and millions continue to suffer today. It is for these people that we strive to produce verifiable progress on the ground. Itís for them that weíll endeavor to generate positive change that they can experience. We have no option but to succeed. Working together, I believe we will. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Thank you, Scott and thank you, Susan, and the three of us would be willing and welcoming of your questions.

MR. CROWLEY: Jill.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, can you tell us, ultimately, what are these calibrated incentives and the real pressure that you can exert? And also could I ask, on Mr. Karzai, the word now is that he is refusing a runoff, there might be a prospect of the coalition government. What is the latest that you are hearing from him? And how is this going to affect this very important timing in moving forward on these election results?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, with respect to the second question, I would like to get back to you on that. We really would hope to stay focused on Sudan, because this is such an important issue for so many people, and literally millions of people are kind of waiting to hear what we have to say on it. But I will certainly get back to you. I spent a lot of time over the last several days, as you know, working on this and Iíd like to bring you and others up to date on that.

But let me just say with respect to Sudan, we have a very clear measure of whether or not the changes we are pursuing are being implemented, and that is whether conditions on the ground are changing and improving. We have a menu of incentives and disincentives, political and economic, that we will be looking to, to either further progress or to create a clear message that the progress we expect is not occurring. But we want to be somewhat careful in putting those out. They are part, in fact, of a classified annex to our strategy that weíre announcing the outline of today.

But suffice it to say, and let me underscore, that both incentives and disincentives based on changes in conditions are what we intend to employ going forward.

MR. CROWLEY: Mary Beth.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good morning, Secretary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

QUESTION: When President Obama was a candidate, he talked about imposing additional sanctions on Sudan to try to get them to move forward, and also discussed a no-fly zone. Iím wondering what has happened to those ideas that he put forth very forcefully.

And a second question, if I could, for General Gration. Youíve talked about the genocide as essentially being over. Youíve suggested taking Sudan off the terrorism list. Iím wondering, did you sort of lose out in this debate thatís occurred on Sudan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we donít see winners and losers in this debate. We see collective agreement among many people with long and broad experience and concern about Sudan. And Iím very proud to be standing here with two of the principal architects of the strategy that we are rolling out today. So I think that Ė I know itís kind of the typical sort of Washington back and forth, but I want to underscore how strongly we adhere to this new strategy. And the President, the principals, the deputies, all of the interagency process that hashed out this approach are fully on board in our going forward to implement it, and fully confident and supportive of Scott Grationís work.
I think too that the sanctions issue is certainly part of our strategy. And I believe that the Presidentís commitment to sanctions as one of the tools that we have to employ in dealing with the leadership in Sudan is as important to our overall strategy today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We want to take a hard look at these sanctions to make sure they are producing the kind of changes in conditions that weíre looking for. But it is a tool, and itís a tool that we have employed and we will continue to employ.

Scott, do you want to respond?

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Sure. I just want to make sure everybody knows that I fully support this strategy, the comments that the Secretary and that Ambassador Rice have said. I will work diligently to implement the policies of this strategy. And we really have no option; people in Darfur continue to live in conditions that are dire and unacceptable. We must work every day to change those conditions on the ground. Thatís what weíre committed to, thatís what the people deserve, and thatís what I will do.

MR. CROWLEY: Andy.

QUESTION: Yeah. Secretary Clinton, you mentioned that youíre Ė you will be judging this policy based on your assessment of whether or not things are changing on the ground. Iím wondering if you can give us a sense of how youíre going to make that judgment. On what information are you going to rely? The Ambassador spoke about backsliding and obfuscation on the part of the Khartoum Government in the past. How are we going to feel confident that weíre getting the right information going forward on what actually is happening on the ground?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well Ė and Iíll let Susan add to this Ė but thatís why we are focused on outcomes and verifiable changes. There have been, as you rightly point out, lots of promises made, there have been white papers, there have been commissions. There have been all kinds of promises and agreements that have not been fulfilled. Weíre looking past that. This is going to be a very results-oriented analysis that weíre engaged in. And thereís a lot of ways of measuring that.

And one of the reasons why Scott is spending so much time both in Sudan and the region is to enlist our international partners in helping us to measure the kind of progress that we all hope to see. The urgency, as he pointed out, is acute. The elections are coming up. The referendum is coming up. And there are many aspects of how we try to secure a credible, legitimate election, how we try to help the Sudanese, both South and North, prepare for the referendum.

In Darfur, we are looking to help unite a lot of the disparate groups so that there can be a stronger voice on the ground about whatís needed. Scott helped to negotiate a return of NGOs to help alleviate the suffering in the camps. I mean, thereís many different factors that have to be taken into account, but weíre way beyond just taking anybody at their word or their stated commitment. We want to see results that we can point to.

Susan, do you want to add?

AMBASSADOR RICE: I would just add that we have many different sources of information, more so than in the past. Obviously, we have a substantial American presence throughout Sudan. Other partners have a presence as well. We now have two substantial United Nations forces on the ground that do a lot of observation and reporting and monitoring on violations, and so we received that information as well through the Security Council and other channels. And the human rights Ė the High Commissioner for Human Rights also has a person that will remain in the position of reporting on what occurs on the ground.

So we have many sources. Weíre in contact with all the parties. And I have every confidence that our challenge will not be lack of information.

QUESTION: Yes. Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Rice, and Envoy Gration, all of you have mentioned that too many people have been suffering. And I think the sentence applied to nearly five million people living in the refugee camps. And I will get you back to a comment Secretary Powell one day said here, that the only thing these people need is to be sent home, and they know how to take care of themself.

Itís been more than five years now. The situation is dire. New kids are born there, no school, no healthcare. They all are divided and itís very difficult to unite them as we are following your effort, Special Envoy Gration. And also the government in Sudan hasnít produced any solution to this.

Donít you think there is a sense of urgency to get these people back and secure their villages, and to get them back to their villages? And then, you wait to see when the political settlement will come to this, as we all Ė we donít know when that will happen.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, certainly, we are well aware of the difficulty of our goals here to work on behalf of the people of Sudan for a better future, peace, and stability. And that is one of the reasons why this strategy clearly integrates our approach to Darfur and our approach on the North-South. These are two critically important aspects of the overall challenge that Sudan faces and they canít be treated separate from one another. They have to be treated in this integrated approach that we are advocating. And we are, of course, doing all we can in our strategic approach to empower the people of Sudan to solve their own problems. Thatís what the election is about, thatís what the referendum is about. But we are conscious of how difficult this will be. We donít expect quick or easy solutions to these quite complex problems. But we are working to try to create the conditions on the ground that will lead to both better lives for individual Sudanese, but also a potential environment in which a political settlement of all of these various problems could be achieved.

Scott, do you want to add to that?

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Sure. Security is the number one issue that we are facing thatís keeping people from going back. And we support the efforts of the Chad Government and the Sudanese Government to end the tensions on the border and to stop that proxy war. Weíre working very closely with UNAMID to ensure that it gets the forces and the capability that it needs, and they can provide some security. Weíre also working with local forces to increase local security with the people of the camps themselves to try to improve security.

But we believe that we have to reach a position where the people can voluntarily return with their dignity and human rights, and live in security and stability. And until those conditions are met, we cannot have them go back. And so thatís what weíre trying to achieve. Thatís what weíre working for in our efforts.

MR. CROWLEY: We have time for one more question. Charlie.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, can you talk about international contacts that have already been made? And specifically, have you Ė how much have the Chinese signaled a willingness to help or not? And secondly, can you talk about any new monies that youíre going to commit to this? Are you going to do this with whatever presently is there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Charlie, Iíll have both Susan and Scott add to this. We have had intensive international outreach, both Susan at the UN, Scott in numerous meetings around the world, including one that he convened here in Washington, bringing together the international partners who have either already been involved or we wish to see more involved. During our meetings with the Chinese back in July, I raised it directly, seeking more support and a partnership that would result in some additional opportunities for us to influence the Sudanese Government.

So Iím going to ask Scott first to talk about what heís been doing, because itís extensive, and Iím not sure everybody knows, and then Susan to have the final word on the UN.

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: Thank you. Weíve worked in several venues to get international cooperation. Weíve put together a group, what we call the Envoy 6, and they include the envoys from the P-5 countries, plus the EU, and we meet regularly and exchange emails and VTCs. And that group has been very important. China and Russia, obviously, are part of that. And we continue to reach out to them on a consistent basis.

We also have a group called the contact group. It grew out of the donors. And we continue to meet with them not only to get the donations, but also to help us with policy and implementation issues. As you know, that Ė during the Nevasha discussions in 2005, the troika made up of the UK and Norway were very helpful. Weíve reconvened that group to help us not only with the implementation of the CPA, but also to help us as we work these negotiations on the sticky points like the census, the elections, and referendum.

So thereís a whole large group that includes EGAD countries, that includes neighbors, and it includes an international community thatís working very well together.

QUESTION: Well, I donít doubt the willingness in the meetings, but how positive have the Chinese especially been in signaling a willingness to do what you want to do?

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION: The Chinese have been very helpful. If you look at their objectives in the region, they require stability and security. And so thereís a great overlap. And while we might have differences in some of the tactical issues, certainly strategically, we have the same goals. Weíre working very closely together and the Chinese have been very helpful in providing influence and pressures not only to work the Darfur issue with the proxy war, but also working in the South.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Susan? Final word?

AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you. I would just add that at the United Nations, we look at the situation in Darfur. And between the North and South, on a very regular basis, this is an issue thatís constantly almost every month on the Security Council agenda. We are now in a position where thereís a substantial presence on the ground of some close to 10,000 each of Darfur and the South. And that presence is very much engaged in the implementation of the very objectives that support the policy we outlined today.

So while we do differ on occasion with partners in the Security Council about tactics and the relative timing and nature of pressures versus incentives, this is something we will continue to work on with them. And as we pursue implementation of our strategy, obviously, the good work that Scott has done and continues to do to keep our partners with us is very important, and we will see it manifest in the United Nations.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all.

QUESTION: Is this new money, any new money here or --

SECRETARY CLINTON: I donít know the answer to that, so I Ė let me get back to you, Charlie. I mean, I want to make sure that we donít misstate things.

QUESTION: Okay.


AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you all.

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