Cablegate: Letter From Mp David Kilgour to Secstate Urging

Published: Wed 19 Oct 2005 04:04 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. Embassy has received a letter from MP David Kilgour
addressed to the Secretary regarding NATO involvement in
Darfur. Mr. Kilgour is an independent MP who has been a
champion of human rights and humanitarian issues going back
to international efforts on behalf of Soviet Jewry in the
1970,s. Kilgour is a good friend of the United States and
is one of Embassy,s better contacts on a range of domestic
political and international issues. He has been helpful in
bringing attention to the issue of Darfur in Canada, most
recently hosting the Ride for Sudan which linked U.S. and
Canadian NGOs in helping to raise the profile of the plight
of the Sudanese. A reply to Mr. Kilgour from the Secretary
or Deputy Secretary would help advance our efforts to engage
Canada on Darfur and would be a way to get a message on Sudan
to the Canadian public.
2. Begin Text
Ottawa, September 28, 2005
Ms. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
Madame Secretary,
As you will be aware, the public concern across Canada about
the ongoing catastrophe in Sudan, and from all indications in
many other parts of the world as well, appears to continue
Attached is an analysis (Note: original faxed to WHA/CAN. End
Note) of September 7th by the American academic Eric Reeves,
who has probably followed developments in Sudan as closely as
anyone outside the continent for the past six years. In his
concluding paragraphs, he notes that there are presently
"over 3.2 million conflict-affected persons, current excess
mortality in Darfur exceeds 6,000 human beings per month,"
and "without vastly increased international resources,
including NATO military personnel, genocide by attrition will
continue indefinitely in Darfur. Nothing could burden future
operations by the AU Peace and Security Commission more
onerously than such a legacy."
The second attachment is an overview of the International
Crisis Group's report this summer, "The AU's Mission in
Darfur: Bridging the Gaps." I hope you are aware that in
early July the ICG stated that it wants NATO and others to
offer additional help to the AU in "force preparation,
deployment, sustainment, intelligence, command and control,
communications and tactical (day and night) mobility,
including the deployment of their own assets and personnel to
meet capability gaps as needed."
Whatever the international and regional political nuances, or
organizational mechanics, or any other number of unpersuasive
excuses, no one can deny that we all have a responsibility to
protect civilians in Darfur. As Susan Rice wrote in a
Washington Post article this past August, genocide is not
simply a regional or domestic issue. "A government that
commits or condones genocide is not on par with one that,
say, jails dissidents, squanders economic resources or
suppresses free speech, as dreadful as such policies may be.
Genocide makes a claim on the entire world and it should be a
call to action."
Although many are pleased to hear NATO has promised to extend
the airlift of AU troops to Darfur until the end of October,
many others have called for the alliance to become involved
in a more integrated and result-oriented way. Insisting that
such an initiative would need the approval of both the AU and
the Sudanese government misses the point.
To believe that the Sudanese government would ever condone
NATO involvement in a capacity more than transporting AU
troops is folly. The people of Sudan cannot wait for this.
Acknowledging that something exists but refusing to take
action is just as bad as denying something exists at all and
claiming that no action is necessary. Claims that the
situation has stabilized and requires only humanitarian aid
must end, for the crisis in Sudan is far from stable. Neither
can we remain idle because of fears that strong action will
lead to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) falling
apart. The case is precisely the opposite: without a
solution to the current crisis, the CPA will never work.
Two Canadian observers returned from Sudan several days ago.
Consider several of their observations while on the trip:
-- Several armed men opened fire on a bus near El Fasher,
Darfur this past Friday, September 23rd, killing one and
wounding seven. They spoke to several witnesses.
-- None of the Rwandan, Senegalese, South African and
Malawi AU troops were present during the attack. Even if they
had been, they are under mandate not to carry weapons so all
they could have done was report the incident.
-- An Egyptian policeman in Sudan told one of the
Canadians that it is ridiculous that the AU troops are
unarmed - it allows the janjaweed to act with absolute
-- While at the Zam Zam military base controlled by
Rwandan AU troops, they saw twelve armoured AU vehicles which
had never been used because they were waiting for a new coat
of paint.
-- In the Abu-Shouko camp, the temporary home of 270,000
women and children, the observers failed to see even one AU
soldier in two hours.
-- The nutrition and living conditions of the AU troops is
very poor, and has a negative impact on their ability to
perform their duties effectively.
We must all do our part to bring an end to the catastrophe in
Sudan; we as ministers, diplomats and parliamentarians all
have the capacity to make a difference. Abhorrent violations
of human rights cannot continue because we chose
indifference. If everything we do accomplishes nothing, we
are simply silent partners in genocide. Are we really
willing to allow another Rwanda or Bosnia to take place while
we stand and watch? We must let "Never Again" mean something.
I'd greatly appreciate your comments on this issue in a form
that might be shared. Thank you.
David Kilgour
End Text
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