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Kaine introduces bill to strengthen U.S. response to Sudan conflict

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, D-Va.,  a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., introduced the Response to Conflict in Sudan Act Thursday, legislation to bolster and coordinate the U.S. response to the war in Sudan by codifying the Special Envoy for Sudan position at the U.S. Department of State.

Specifically, the bill would elevate the position and require the special envoy to report directly to the Secretary of State; the envoy currently reports to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. The bill would also require the envoy to be confirmed by the Senate, reaffirming the Senate’s role in advice and consent for the appointment of senior national security officials, and ensure the Department of State appropriately staffs and resources the envoy’s office to respond to the crisis.

“The conflict in Sudan has resulted in more than 150,000 civilian deaths, the displacement of millions, and a devastating humanitarian crisis," Kaine said. "While I’m pleased that the Administration finally appointed Virginian Tom Perriello as Special Envoy for Sudan, which I strongly advocated for, we need to do more to ensure he’s empowered to fulfill his mandate,” said Kaine. “I have heard consistently from Virginians, including members of the Sudanese diaspora, about the urgent need for the U.S. to step up its engagement on this crisis. A robust U.S. response is critical to helping prevent further instability, holding the perpetrators of human rights atrocities accountable, coordinating a humanitarian response, and avoiding yet another refugee crisis. I’m introducing this bill to strengthen the role of the Special Envoy for Sudan and reaffirm the need to end the war in Sudan and secure a democratic future for the country.”

“I remain gravely concerned by the mass atrocities and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan,” Warner added. “Tom Perriello, the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, has worked diligently to deliver humanitarian aid and prioritize the safety of civilians who have been displaced by violent conflict. His efforts as Special Envoy are critical to supporting a path to ending the ongoing violence. We must ensure that the envoy role is fully resourced and elevated, and reflects the absolute seriousness of the need to secure an immediate and peaceful resolution.”

Kaine and Warner successfully urged the administration to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan and applauded the appointment of Virginian Tom Perriello to the role last year. They have been focused on bringing an end to the war in Sudan and increasing humanitarian assistance to civilians.

Following the outbreak of violence, Kaine held a roundtable in Richmond and Warner hosted a virtual town hall with members of Virginia’s Sudanese American community to hear their concerns.