The Sudanese government must comply with international efforts, keep the peace in Darfur and ensure a successful resolution to the humanitarian crisis in the region, Georgetown professor and Darfur envoy Andrew Natsios (CAS ’71) said in a speech Wednesday afternoon in Gaston Hall.

Natsios, a distinguished professor in the School of Foreign Service in the practice of diplomacy, said that the situation in Darfur has not improved significantly in recent years. Since tribal fighting broke out in 2003, approximately 400,000 Sudanese have died and 2.5 million have been displaced.

“Where are we at now? We are at a catastrophe,” said Natsios, whom Bush appointed special envoy to Darfur in September.

Natsios outlined the criteria that the Sudanese government must meet so that the United States will not enact a series of classified sanctions called “Plan B.” He did not specify details about the plan but said that the secret plan could soon be triggered if the Sudanese government does not take measures to foster peace in the region.

Natsios confirmed a Feb. 7 report in the Washington Post that said President Bush has already approved a part of Plan B, which mandates that the U.S. Treasury Department obstruct commercial bank operations linked to the Sudanese government.

Natsios testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday on the possibility that the United States will fully enact the secret plan.

Natsios said in the speech that the Sudanese government needs to comply with United Nations and African Union peacekeeping forces, encourage peace talks in the region, protect refugee camps and allow non-governmental organizations to provide aid to the people in Darfur.

“If the people in [refugee] camps are attacked on a massive scale . then we have a big problem,” he said.

Natsios noted that the 3,700 civilians killed last year in Darfur marked a sharp decrease from previous years. He attributed the decrease to the many civilians who have joined protected refugee camps but said that the situation remains very dangerous.

“Is it mass slaughter? No, it’s not,” Natsios said of the current situation.

Erin Mazursky (SFS ’07), executive director of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, the organization that sponsored the speech, said that the sustained volatility of the Darfur region and the sizeable refugee population demand continued international attention.

“There are still almost 3 million people in isolated camps that are among the targeted population of Janjaweed attacks,” she said.

Natsios served as an administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development for five years under President Bush before returning to Georgetown last winter.

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