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Former Ambassador Stresses Renewing Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve Darfur Crisis

In the second installment in a NewsHour series of conversations on ending the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, a former ambassador to Sudan stresses the need for increased diplomatic efforts.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    On Friday, we talked with former Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice. She proposed military strikes and a blockade against Sudan. Today, the idea is for more vigorous diplomacy. Margaret Warner has our conversation.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    For that approach, we go to former Assistant Secretary of State Morton Abramowitz, a career diplomat and former ambassador. He's now a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. He recently outlined his Darfur proposal in the Washington Post.

    And welcome, Ambassador Abramowitz. Now, you have called for reviving the negotiating track. How would that work?

  • MORTON ABRAMOWITZ, Former Ambassador:

    Well, for three years, actually, I've been advocating a very robust approach to Darfur. It's not on, unfortunately. It is not on. And we want to stop the killing, and you want to devise a way of getting people home, 2 million people warehoused.

    And the only way of doing that is through diplomacy, a particularly weak tool with very bad guys, but that's the only option at the present time, and that's what Kofi Annan effectively did at the meeting in Addis Ababa. He puts his major thrust in diplomacy; getting a cease-fire, however difficult; and getting a peace conference, a peace process going over the next two months.

    Whether it will succeed or not, I don't know, but right now, given what's happening in the world, given the divisions in the world, given the way the United States and Great Britain are neutered because of colossal foreign policy mistakes, given the differences among countries, there is no consensus. And the only way to move right now is diplomacy, if you're interested in dealing with this issue.