Remarks by U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Larry André at the Equipment Handover for TPDF Peacekeepers Deploying to Darfur
Venue: TPDF/MoD Headquarters at Ngome - Tuesday, May 12, 2009; 11:30 a.m.
I am happy to celebrate with you this morning the handover of this equipment to the Tanzanian People’s Defense Force. This equipment will be used to bring peace to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. Peace is worth celebrating. Tanzania has a long and distinguished history of solidarity with fellow Africans suffering tragic circumstances. Tanzania assisted the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles. When citizens of Burundi and Congo fled their countries, Tanzanians gave them refuge. In 1979 Tanzania liberated Uganda from a brutal dictator. Last year Tanzania led the African Union effort to restore the authority of the Comoros government on the island of Anjouan. Once again a suffering African people have cried out, and the Tanzanian People’s Defense Force has answered. I applaud the commitment to peace and to African solidarity of His Excellency President Kikwete, Hon. Minister of Defense and National Service, Hussein Ali Mwinyi and the Chief of the Tanzanian Peoples' Defense Force, General Davis A. Mwamunyange. On behalf of the American people, I express my sincere admiration for Tanzania's civilian and military leadership for their commitment to bringing peace to the people of Darfur.
Americans recognize the need to work in partnership with others to end conflict and mass human suffering in the world. This includes resolving the tragedy of Darfur. The United States is strongly committed to the pursuit of peace in Sudan. We will continue to support all efforts to ease the suffering of the Sudanese people of Darfur. We remain committed to full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brought an end to the conflict between North and South Sudan. We will also continue to support joint United Nations and African Union efforts to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities and a political settlement that will end the humanitarian crisis and bring a just and durable peace to Darfur. We commend Tanzania's commitment to support the United Nations, the African Union and Sudan through their pledge of troops to UNAMID, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have expressed their strong support for peace in Darfur, and for the UNAMID peacekeeper contributing countries like Tanzania. President Obama named General Scott Gration—a Swahili speaker who grew up in this region—as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan. General Gration was in Khartoum recently to discuss with Sudanese leaders possible solutions to the tragedy of Darfur. The United States condemned the recent incursion made by Chadian rebels coming across the border from Sudan and reiterated our call to both Governments to abide by accords entered into to reduce tensions and normalize relations by ending support for rebel groups in their respective territories. As the TPDF enters into this dangerous environment, know that we support you and admire your courage and commitment to peace.
I thank the High Commissioner from the United Kingdom for her nation’s share of the funding of this equipment. The American and British governments shared the costs of training and equipping the TPDF peacekeepers. South Africa agreed to make much of this equipment available for purchase in support of this effort, for which we are also grateful.
Americans and Tanzanians are partners. Training provided under the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program (ACOTA) for Tanzania's Battalion One is a fruit of that partnership. The American trainers who worked with their TPDF colleagues speak with admiration of their professionalism, discipline and motivation. Like their fellow soldiers who went before them to Lebanon, the TPDF soldiers who received ACOTA training and who will soon deploy to Darfur are continuing Tanzania’s noble tradition of promoting peaceful conflict resolution.
As a partner, the United States stands ready, with other friends of Tanzania, to support your efforts to resolve other international conflicts and create conditions that enable more people around the world to enjoy the same peace and stability that Tanzania’s citizens have so long enjoyed.
On behalf of the American people, we wish you god speed. We hope that this equipment will help you to accomplish your task of bringing peace to Darfur. We wish you success and a safe return home to Tanzania.