The international community has failed to muster the will to bring peace to Sudan's Darfur region after four and a half years of a genocidal conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives and driven 2.5 million people from their homes. The world's reaction has come closer to "nevermind" than "never again."
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The Bush administration reportedly is mounting a renewed effort to end the conflict in Darfur, as well as preserve a separate and tenuous peace between northern and southern Sudan. To give those initiatives the best chance of succeeding, the administration needs to give its new envoy to Sudan more muscle to move the international community.
The envoy, Rich Williamson, was sworn in this week. His predecessor, Andrew Natsios, was a committed and capable diplomat, but lacked the authority, resources and time to rally international pressure on Sudan.
To be truly effective, Williamson will need the ear of the president and the ability to seek support personally from world leaders for his critical mission. His immediate priorities should be rounding up enough manpower and firepower for the larger peacekeeping force for Darfur authorized months ago by the United Nations, and enlisting other countries in stronger steps to overcome obstruction to the force from Sudan's president.
The United States alone is not responsible for bringing peace to Darfur, but committed U.S. leadership could make the difference.
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