In a letter to newly appoint Secretary of State John Kerry, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) called on Secretary Kerry to make the appointment of a special envoy to the Sudan(s) a top priority. The United States has always played a vital role in trying to resolve the conflicts within Sudan and between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan since before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA. Wolf noted in his letter to Secretary Kerry:
In September 2001, President Bush appointed Senator Danforth as special envoy and his leadership was in fact instrumental in securing, after two and a half years of negotiations, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), thereby bringing about an end to the war. Danforth was a high-profile appointment. He had the ear of the president and the secretary and didn’t get bogged down in the department’s bureaucracy. He was uniquely positioned to negotiate and his stature, prior to taking the job, communicated a clear sense of urgency and priority on the part of the U.S.
Rep. Wolf emphasized the need to focus in particular on tensions between Sudan and South Sudan that are “nearing a tipping point.” The United States must take the helm among international actors to maintain peace and security in Sudan, South Sudan, and the Darfur region, Wolf wrote, arguing, “Our approach to Sudan and South Sudan needs reinvigorating.”
With current envoy to the Sudans Princeton Lyman retiring, the Enough Project continues to call on the Obama administration to appoint a new U.S. special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan. As Wolf noted, history has shown that an experienced and respected U.S. special envoy can play a critical role in implementing U.S. policy towards Sudan and South Sudan, sustaining the U.S. government’s attention on the situation, and maintaining diplomatic relations with officials from the two Sudans, as well as other key regional and international actors. Indeed, given the complex issues at play in the region—conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, national security, the Arab Spring, and promotion of human rights and democracy—and the multiple stakeholders involved, the appointment of an experienced special envoy is critical.
The original press release and full text of the letter can be found on Congressman Wolf’s website.
Photo: Secretary Kerry at his confirmation hearing (AP)