PRESS RELEASE

Congressman Capuano Calls for Additional Helicopters to Support Peacekeeping Efforts in Darfur

June 16, 2008

Congressman Mike Capuano has introduced H. Res. 1245, urging the international community to provide the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) with additional helicopters to support peacekeeping efforts. H. Res. 1245 also calls on President Bush to take a leadership role in securing these helicopters by asking other heads of government to contribute aircraft. Finally, the resolution urges the Department of State to organize a special meeting of the Security Council, the Friends of UNAMID working group, and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to resolve outstanding force resource and equipment issues.

"It has been almost a year since the United Nations Security Council authorized UNAMID and still the force is struggling to carry out its mandate to protect civilians in Darfur. Only a fraction of the authorized force has been deployed and they are encountering great difficulty getting personnel and supplies where they are needed. By simply increasing the number of helicopters available, more lives can be saved," stated Congressman Capuano, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Sudan Caucus.

UNAMID is still waiting for 18 transport and 6 attack helicopters it requested from the international community. Without these helicopters, peacekeepers cannot adequately patrol or respond to attacks. Every day that UNAMID goes without the needed helicopters, more Darfuris are at risk.

"The conflict in Darfur is far from over and the delivery of essential equipment can help to stem the violence. I urge President Bush to work with the international community to deliver additional helicopters," stated Congressman Capuano.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208