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The Escalating Crisis in Darfur

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on the vitally important issue of the escalating crisis in Darfur. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and of course Congressman Payne, Speaker Pelosi and many of your colleagues in both Houses and on both sides of the aisle for your committed leadership in trying to halt the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to enable all the people of Sudan to live in peace, hope and freedom from persecution on the basis of their race, religion or ethnicity. You have every reason to be proud of your record on this issue, and many of us are counting on you to continue to lead to save innocent lives.

I feel compelled to begin with a simple, even mundane observation: Today is the 8th of February, 2007. Thirty nine days have come and gone since the very public deadline Mr. Natsios set on November 20th at my own Brookings Institution. He promised that harsh consequences would befall the Government of Sudan, if it failed by January 1, 2007, to accept unconditionally the deployment of a 17,000 person UN-AU hybrid force and to stop the killing of innocent civilians. January 1 was the deadline for the implementation of the Administration’s punitive “Plan B.” Yesterday, the Washington Post published a leaked story that the President had approved “Plan B” — a three stage punitive package that could begin with the United States blocking Sudan’s revenue from oil sales. If this I “Plan B”, it should be implemented swiftly, not leaked. This kind of leak gives the Sudanese advance warning of the United States’ possible actions and enables them to try to evade them.

Today, on February 8th, the United States continues to be taunted, and our conditions continue to be flaunted by the Sudanese Government. Plan B is long past its sell-by date and getting staler by the day.

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