Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More Richardson in Sudan

Today, Governor Richardson visited a refugee camp as he prepares to meet with Sudanese President Al-Bashir. Above is a photo of his visit to the camp, with a tip of the hat to Cara, who received a copy of a press release from Governor Richardson's office today.
Governor Bill Richardson today saw first-hand the human toll taken by the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan as he toured a relocation camp and spoke with citizens forced from their homes and villages by war. The Governor visited the As Salaam IDP (internally displaced persons) Camp in El Fasher, home to more than 43,000 people, mostly women and children.


Governor Richardson also received a briefing from top United Nations officials in Sudan and met with the Commander of the African Union peacekeeping forces, Major General Luke Aprezi. General Aprezi expressed his frustration that the relatively small numbers of AU troops cannot provide adequate security for the 65 IDP camps as well as serving as observers and running patrols to protect civilian activities such as gathering firewood.

“The AU urgently needs more troops,” said Governor Richardson. “It is difficult to find sufficient numbers of Africans to act as peacekeepers, so I will continue to push President Al-Bashir to accept a hybrid force that can truly make a difference.”

In addition, the Governor urged several field commanders from different rebel Sudanese forces to do their part to reduce violence against women and humanitarian workers and to undertake efforts to restore peace and stability to their region and throughout Sudan.


Governor Richardson is scheduled to meet with President Al-Bashir tomorrow morning before returning to New Mexico.

“Our first meeting on Monday was positive,” said the Governor. “I look forward to meeting with the President tomorrow to try to make additional progress toward peace in the Darfur region.”
More news tomorrow, watch for the update.


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